With these issues increasingly in the spotlight in the news, earlier this year Bupa saw an increase in male health assessment bookings. In March 2018, Bupa saw a 28% uplift in male health assessment bookings compared to the same time last year, and a 43% year-on-year increase in April 2018.
In response, Bupa developed the Male Health Check, specifically designed to provide assessment and advice for prostate and testicular cancer. Within 30 minutes, customers will be much clearer about their health in relation to these male-specific areas, either identifying the need for further tests or giving the reassurance they need.
Dr Luke Powles, Associate Clinical Director, Bupa UK, said: “Cancer awareness has significantly improved so it’s good that men are being more proactive about their health. The reality is that men can still be reluctant to take time out for a health check. That’s why we created this specific, short check-up, which is designed to give men a greater understanding around prostate and testicular cancer, along with guidance on their risks of these and the need for any further action, while fitting it in easily around their busy schedules.”
Glenys Jackson, Clinical Lead Mental Health, Bupa UK, added: “The increasing spotlight on mental health is positive as it is increasing confidence in men to come forward to share their problems and seek guidance. However, we still hear many concerns which are putting men off from seeking the help they may need. It’s important to understand there is nothing to be ashamed of, and help is always available should they need it.”
Now, Bupa UK experts have shared the most common concerns that they hear from people when it comes to prostate and testicular cancer and mental health, providing guidance and reassurance to those who feel they may need help.
Prostate and testicular checks: most common concerns
Dr Luke Powles, Associate Clinical Director, Bupa Health Clinics:
“I’m embarrassed about having my prostate and testicles checked”
It’s important not to put off seeing your GP about any symptoms because you’re worried about an examination. There’s no need to feel embarrassed – they are important medical checks that your GP has done many times before. The examinations involved are really quick and easy and can help identify any potential prostate or testicular problems. If you are experiencing any symptoms, make sure you get checked.
“I’m worried about what you might find – I’d rather not know”
Early detection is the key to living a longer, healthier life. Getting checked regularly can ensure that if you need treatment, you get it as early as possible. 84% of men diagnosed with prostate cancer in the UK survive for at least 10 years.
“I don’t know what a check involves – it sounds scary”
There is nothing to be worried about. We understand that they are intimate checks so may feel a little strange but they are quick and not normally painful. A GP will feel your prostate through the wall of your rectum with their finger. During a testicular check, a GP will check their size, position and texture. They will also help detect any unusual changes to your testicles, like lumps, swelling, or other abnormalities within the scrotum.
“It won’t happen to me, will it?”
Unfortunately, prostate cancer is common. Testicular cancer is less common but the number of cases are rising, the reason for which is unclear. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the UK, with around 47,000 new cases of in the UK each year. Meanwhile, more than six men each day are diagnosed with testicular cancer, with incidence rates highest in men aged 30-34.
“Are prostate and testicular cancer hereditary?”
If you have close relatives with prostate cancer or testicular cancer, especially your father or brother, you’re more likely to develop it. Having an undescended testicle can also increase your risk of testicular cancer. Men who have a diet that contains a lot of fat may be more likely to develop prostate cancer too, as are those who are over 50.
Mental health: most common concerns
Glenys Jackson, Clinical Lead Mental Health, Bupa UK:
“I feel anxious and worried all the time – it’s making me physically unwell”
Small bouts of anxiety can be helpful and can get us through stressful situations, but sometimes anxiety can become too much and can lead to problems with your physical health. If this is happening, you need to get to the bottom of why. If you’re finding anxiety isn’t going away and is starting to take its toll physically, see a GP who can help you determine what might be causing this and discuss next steps to help you.
“Am I anxious, depressed or both?”
It’s common for anxiety and depression to co-exist. Similar symptoms include trouble sleeping, difficulty concentrating and feeling constantly tired. Common signs of depression are prolonged feelings of worthlessness and a loss of interest in the things you usually enjoy, whether that’s sports, your favourite TV shows – whatever it may be. If you are experiencing some of these symptoms, it’s important to seek medical advice so a clinical expert can advise you and provide the support you may need. You can get more guidance about the link between anxiety and depression here.
“I don’t know what to do or where to go for help”
Talking to someone close to you is often a good starting point. It might be useful to ask them if they’ve noticed a difference in you and have been worried about you. A change to our mental health and wellbeing can happen to anyone – it doesn’t matter how strong or successful you are. Don’t let it stop you getting the help you need. The first port of call would be to see a GP who will ask you some questions and, if necessary, help you access the treatment that’s right for you.
“I’m the only one that feels this way – people will think I’m being daft”
Each year, around one in 20 adults in the UK will have an episode of depression. It’s the third most common condition GPs see in their practices, while anxiety is even more common. You certainly aren’t the only one and it’s important to remember that depression isn’t a sign of weakness nor something people can just ‘snap out’ of. What’s really important is that first step of telling someone what’s going on, how you are feeling and how it is impacting on your life, so you can then be given the right support or treatment you need.
“The treatment just isn’t working. Will I feel like this forever?”
There are numerous treatment pathways for anxiety and depression, including talking therapies and anti-depressants. There is no ‘quick fix’, so as your treatment begins, it’s perfectly normal for it to take a while until your symptoms begin to get better. Further help is available – if you feel your treatment isn’t working after a prolonged period of time, a GP can guide you on alternative options that will help you.