With over 40,000 men diagnosed every year and over 250,00 men in the UK living with the disease, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men. It is a disease that can grow slowly or very quickly – often with symptoms only becoming apparent when the prostate is large enough to cause problems urinating. In fact, the first noticeable symptom is when it has spread to the bones.
It is difficult to determine how successful treatment is likely to be as every cancer is different. Outlook depends on the stage of the cancer, and how quickly it is growing.
See also: Maintaining a Happy, Healthy Family
Erectile dysfunction (ED) – also known as impotence – is a very common condition, particularly in older men. It is estimated that half of all men between the ages of 40 and 70 will have it to some degree.Causes vary from person to person, and can be both physical and psychological. Physical causes include narrowing of the blood vessels going to the penis (commonly associated with high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes), hormonal problems, surgery or injury – while mental causes often include anxiety, depression, stress and relationship difficulties.Research shows that most men wait for a year or longer before speaking to their GP. “There’s really no need for embarrassment when it comes to impotence,” says media doctor and GP Rob Hicks. “GPs are used to talking about it and want to help.”
Treating erectile dysfunction will depend on whether it is physical or psychological. In cases where ED is caused by the narrowing of the arteries, lifestyle changes such as losing weight or stopping smoking can help. You may also be given medication to treat atherosclerosis while sildenafil (sold as Viagra) can be used to successfully manage ED in at least two-thirds of men. Alternatively, vacuum pumps offer a solution in 90% of cases.
In terms of psychological treatment, these commonly include cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and sex therapy, with most people eventually being able to return to successful intercourse.
Dr. Richard Bowskill, consultant psychiatrist at the Priory Group defines depression as an abnormal mood associated with specific and reversible chemical changes in the brain. It normally affects one in four people at some point in their lives, although some symptoms are more commonly seen in men than in women. These include: irritability, sudden anger, increased loss of control, greater risk-taking and aggression.
According to Dr. Dawn Richards, Head of Clinical Services at PruHealth, the condition can be more difficult to diagnose in men. “They tend to be less likely to talk about or even recognise their symptoms,” she explains. “When they do finally seek help they are more likely to focus on physical symptoms and don’t want to address emotional and mental symptoms.”
For many people, depression is often triggered by a stressful event or problems stemming from addictions or an unresolved difficulty. However, in some people that undergo depression treatment, there is “no obvious trigger,” says Dr. Bowskill.
Many men with depression benefit from making lifestyle changes such as getting more exercise, cutting down on alcohol and eating more healthily. Self-help measures such as reading a self-help book or joining a support group are also worthwhile.
Every year an estimated 152,000 people in the UK have a stroke, with incidence approximately 25% higher in men than in women.
Some stroke risk factors are hereditary while others are a function of natural processes or result from a person’s lifestyle. High blood pressure is considered the most important risk factor however, contributing to about 50% of all strokes.
Strokes can affect people in different ways, depending on the part of the brain that is affected. The main symptoms can commonly be remembered with the word FAST: Face-Arms-Speech-Time. The face may drop on one side while the person might not be able to lift their arms, and have slurred speech.
According to Stroke Association, about a third of people who have a stroke make a significant recovery within a month. But most stroke survivors will have long-term problems.
It may take a year or longer for them to make the best possible recovery. Sadly, in the most severe cases strokes can be fatal or cause long-term disability.
Diabetes is a long-term condition that affects the body’s ability to process sugar or glucose and can have serious health consequences. With more than one in 20 people in the UK estimated to have the condition (diagnosed or undiagnosed), diabetes is considered one of the biggest health challenges facing the UK today.
There are two main types of diabetes:
Type 1 diabetes: When the body can’t produce any insulin. This type of diabetes usually occurs before the age of 40 and accounts for only around 10% of all cases.
Type 2 diabetes: When the body doesn’t make enough insulin, or where the body becomes resistant to insulin so that it doesn’t work properly. Type 2 is the most common form of diabetes, accounting for around 90% of cases, and is frequently linked with being overweight.
Men may notice reduced strength from loss of muscle mass, recurrent episodes of thrush around the genitals, itching of/around the penis and erectile dysfunction.
If you are experiencing symptoms of diabetes the NHS advises that you see a GP as soon as possible; early treatment of diabetes can prevent long-term health complications developing.
See also: Tackling Testosterone Deficiency
Lung cancer is the second most common cancer in UK men with an estimated 40,800 new cases diagnosed every year.
According to Cancer Research UK, the disease is predominately related to cigarette smoking, with it being the cause of nine out of 10 cases. Symptoms include coughing, unexplained weight loss, shortness of breath, and chest pain.
Lung cancer has one of the lowest survival outcomes of any cancer because over two-thirds of patients are diagnosed at a late stage when curative treatment is not possible. Only 27% of men with lung cancer will survive for at least a year after being diagnosed while just 7% will survive for at least five years.
Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) is the UK’s biggest killer, causing 82,000 deaths each year from heart attacks, heart failure and angina. CHD generally affects more men than women; about one in five men and one in eight women die from the disease.
Risk factors that may increase the likelihood of getting CHD include smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, being physically inactive, obesity or a family history of heart disease. Age and gender also play a factor.
If you are worried about developing CHD, you should get a health check. Based on the results of your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, your health professional will give you advice about keeping your heart healthy.