On average, men see a GP half as often as women do. But British men are paying the price for neglecting their health - more than 100,000 die prematurely every year. It’s important to be aware of changes to your health, and to see your GP immediately if you notice something that’s not right.
Here are the top 5 things you need to look out for:
Testicular cancer is unusual in the fact that it most commonly affects younger men, aged 15 to 44. Over 2,000 men are diagnosed with testicular cancer each year in the UK, and regular self-examination is recommended. If you notice a lump or swelling in your testicles, or feel a heaviness or dull ache in your scrotum, see your GP. Most testicular lumps are not cancer, but it is essential to have any abnormalities checked. Early detection gives you a much higher chance of a positive outcome.
Check your moles regularly and be aware of any change in colour or shape, or if they start bleeding. Most changes are harmless and are due to a non-cancerous increase of pigment cells in the skin. See your GP if a mole looks unusual or becomes itchy. It can then be checked and removed if necessary. To minimise your risk of skin cancer, avoid exposure to the sun between 11am and 3pm. Cover up and use sunscreen with a sun protection factor of at least 15 when you’re in the sun.
If you’re depressed, you may lose interest in things you used to enjoy. If you’ve been having feelings of extreme sadness, contact your GP. Depression is a real illness with real effects on your work, social and family life. Treatment usually involves a combination of self-help, talking therapies and drugs. Depression is more common in women, but men are far more likely to commit suicide. This may be because men are more reluctant to seek help. Financial stress, job insecurity, redundancy and debt can all affect your mental wellbeing. Find out when to seek help.
When the prostate is enlarged, it can press on the tube that carries urine from the bladder. This can make it hard to pass urine, which can be a sign of prostate disease, including cancer. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the UK. More than 30,000 men are diagnosed with it every year. Other symptoms include pain or burning when you pass urine and frequently waking up in the night to pee. If you have any of these symptoms, see your GP. Every man has a prostate gland and it’s crucial to your sex life. Get to know your prostate and what can go wrong with it.
Most men have problems getting or keeping an erection (impotence) at some point. See your GP if your erection problems last for several weeks. It's not just your sexual health that could be at risk. Impotence, also known as erectile dysfunction, can be a sign of more serious conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes or high blood pressure. Generally, lifestyle changes, such as losing weight and exercise, can correct the problem. Some men may need medication such as sildenafil (also known as Viagra).
Last updated Thursday 5 November 2020