The leaves are beginning to fall and autumn is almost here – as is September. Next week marks the start of Blue September which aims to put the fun factor into delivering a serious message about men facing up to cancer.
Around 154,000 males living in the UK are diagnosed with cancer every year and the most common cancers that occur in men are bowel, lung and prostate.
Telling your family and friends you have cancer can be difficult. But your family and friends can be a powerful support system and talking to others who are in the same situation as you can be a good way to learn about your condition. Reading about the symptoms and treatments available to treat cancer will also help you gain a better understanding.
Unexplained weight loss, persistent pain in any part of the body, loss of appetite as well as unusual growths or lumps are the more common symptoms, although they will vary between the different types of cancer.
If you do have any of the above symptoms, you should see your local GP. The sooner cancer is detected; the better the chances are of recovering from the disease.
So what can you do to minimise the risk of developing cancer? Sharon West, specialist bowel cancer screening practitioner at the Trust, explains: “Eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables as well as whole grains can help reduce your risk of getting cancer.
“Avoid having a high sugar diet. For British Asians, eating jelabis and barfis regularly can not only lead to you having bowel cancer, you could also develop other types of cancer and heart disease.
“Those who exercise for at least 150 minutes a week will have a lower risk of developing bowel and other cancers. Making changes to your diet and an increase in physical activities will help you keep your weight under control.
“Did you know smoking can damage your heart and blood circulation? Giving up smoking will help reduce your risk of developing bowel and other cancers.
“Every time your skin is exposed to ultraviolet rays, the chances of getting skin cancer are increased. Apply a good sun protection factor (spf) sunscreen and wear clothes that provide protection from the sun.”
If you are aged between 60 and 70, you will automatically be invited to take part in the National Bowel Cancer Screening Programme every two years. Also if you are over 70, you can request a screening kit by calling the free-phone helpline on 0800 707 6060.
Blue September, which involves using the colour blue in everything you do, takes place throughout September and is an international campaign aiming to raise awareness of male cancers. For more information on Blue September, visit www.blueseptember.org.uk.
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