Men’s Health Month: Male-Only Cancers
June is Men’s Health Month and a time to focus on educational efforts, fundraising, and awareness of issues surrounding the health and well-being of men. Did you know that men are more likely to die than women from nearly all of the top 10 leading causes of death, including cancer? Or that men are more likely than women to receive a cancer diagnosis in their lifetime? Studies show there are a variety of reasons for the discrepancies, but the evidence is clear that men and women experience cancer and other diseases differently.
Of course, certain types of cancer affect men and women differently merely because of anatomy. Male-only cancers affect the male reproductive system just as female-only cancers affect the female reproductive system. Men’s Health Month uses this time to highlight these male-only cancers: testicular, prostate, and penile.
Risk Factors Matter- Men Should Know Their Medical History
Like all cancers, male-only cancers result when cells mutate, grow uncontrollably, and form one or more tumors. It is not always clear why the mutations occur and cancer results. However, for most male-only cancers, there are significant factors that increase your risk of developing them. Understanding your risk is important. For example:
- HPV is linked to most cases of cancer of the penis
- Men with the BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations have a higher risk of developing prostate cancer and other cancers.
- Men with a father or brother who had prostate cancer are more likely to get prostate cancer
Male Cancers: Self-Exams and Early Detection
Early detection of male-only cancers often means more treatment options and more successful treatment. How can you help facilitate early detection? Regular visits to the doctor and self-examinations. Conducting regular self-examinations is a significant factor in detecting testicular cancer in its early stages. Examining the penis for a lump or sore can alert you to early signs of penile cancer. Getting a regular prostate exam or blood test can detect the early stages of prostate cancer.
Any irregularities you suspect or concerns you have should, of course, be brought to the attention of a medical professional.
Male Only Cancers Produce Unique Side-Effects
Like all cancers, male-only cancers result in side effects- post-surgical recovery can include pain and discomfort, chemo produces hair loss, nausea, and diarrhea, and radiation can deplete all energy.
Reproductive cancers also, however, result in more than just physical side effects. For men and women, cancer of the sexual and reproductive organs often results in severe depression, anxiety, and lifestyle changes that can be especially difficult to handle.
For men in particular, testicular, penile, and prostate cancer treatments can all reduce sperm count and lead to infertility, reduce testosterone levels, and interfere with sexual function. Surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy can all affect sexual desire, performance, and fertility, which can have far-reaching effects on the life of the patient and his family, regardless of age.
Gift Ideas for The Man You Know With Cancer
Men, of course, are susceptible to more than just reproductive-related cancers. Lung cancer, colon cancer, and skin cancer do not discriminate by gender. We all know someone who is undergoing treatment for some type of cancer.
At Rock the Treatment, we make it easy to let someone with cancer know you care and support them on their difficult journey. If someone you love has cancer, send a helpful cancer gift basket from Rock The Treatment. Chemotherapy and radiation gift baskets are packed with the essentials needed to ease side effects of treatment, as well as enhance physical and mental well-being. See all of our cancer care packages and find the one that best supports their journey.