Global Director of Men's Health Promotion at Movember Foundation Sarah Coghlan outlines some health checks you should encourage the men in your life to get.
1. TESTICULAR CANCER
Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in men aged 25 – 49 years. Every day, this equates to six men being diagnosed with testicular cancer, and the rate of men being diagnosed has doubled in the last 50 years. Early detection is key; men need to know their nuts.
Encourage your boyfriend, brother, or men close to you in that age bracket especially to check their testicles once a month, know what feels normal and go to the doctor if there's any change. Changes he should look out for include swelling or a lump, pain when feeling the testicle, any noticeable change in shape, size or heaviness (handy guide on how to check here).
2. PROSTATE CANCER
In their lifetime, one in eight men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. In fact, it's the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men in the UK overall. Shockingly, one man dies from prostate cancer every hour. That's 42,000 men diagnosed each year. It's important for the men in your life to know the risk factors. The older a man is, the more likely he is to be diagnosed, a man with a father or brother who developed prostate cancer is twice as likely to develop it himself, and it has an increased occurrence in black African and Afro-Caribbean males.
At 50, men should talk to their doctor about having a PSA test. Early detection is power, as it gives men a 98 per cent chance of survival beyond five years. This plummets to 26 per cent if detected late. Possible symptoms include a need to urinate frequently, difficulty urinating, pain and burning during urination, difficulty in having an erection, amongst many more telling signs.
3. MENTAL HEALTH
It's terribly important to be aware of the scale of mental health issues reported in men. On average, 13 men take their own lives each day. A shocking 78 per cent of all suicides are men. Mental health problems impact significantly on the lives of men in terms of their quality of life, relationships with partners and families, productivity at work and engagement in the community. The loss of a job, financial trouble, becoming a father are all big moments in a man's life, and it's important to have shoulder to shoulder conversations to talk about how they're coping.
If your man is struggling, let him know you're there. Get him to make time for his mates. We know that men are less likely to talk than women, but spending time with friends is good for them. Talking, listening and giving someone time can be lifesaving, and men need to better value their friendships and connections. Signs to look out for include visible irritability, hopeless or worthless behaviours such as aggression, drinking more than usual and isolation from friends and family.
4. DIET AND LIFESTYLE
In the UK, men are dying four years younger than women and for reasons that are largely preventable. It's important for men to know their key health numbers. Knowing these and tracking them to stay within the healthy range can lower the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and many types of cancer. For men, this is crucial - in fact, 75 per cent of premature deaths from coronary heart disease are male. Two thirds of men are overweight or obese. Men are more likely to smoke more and drink at hazardous levels than women and middle-aged men are twice as likely to have diabetes as women.
Men must get to know their body better than anyone, and take action when something isn't feeling right. Everyday lifestyle changes can help, along with early diagnosis of big issues. Giving up smoking, good quality and quantity of sleep, a healthy diet and drinking alcohol in moderation are all effective changes for overall wellbeing.
5. SKIN CANCER
Check his moles, freckles and spots on his body for irregularities, unusual colours and changing from day to day - especially when you're in the sun. A quick Google search brings up the signs you should be looking for and what the warning signs are, and it will literally take less than 7 minutes at the end of the day to check him over and make sure everything is a-okay. Help him to learn what's normal and regular and what isn't.
6. HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE
The exact cause of high blood pressure isn't known, but has been put down to many factors in an unhealthy lifestyle - smoking, bad diet, stress and lack of physical activity - which is why finding out whether he has it or not can massively decrease it turning into something more serious. A doctor can determine high blood pressure with a simple monitor, and you can then work together.
7. ANYTHING HE MIGHT BE WORRIED ABOUT
If the man in your life is scared or worried to talk about something with a doctor (and let's be honest, we all get a little nervous sometimes), it might just take some gentle encouragement and support from you to actually make him do something about it. Even if he thinks it's something little or not worth worrying about - that's what a doctor is for.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.co.uk. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.