November puts men’s health needs in focus

November marks Men’s Health Awareness Month and campaigns such as the MANVan from Cancer Association of South Africa (Cansa).

The month focuses on educating men about the importance of early cancer detection.

Men in SA are at risk of contracting six cancers in particular: prostate, colorectal, lung, bladder, kaposi sarcoma and testicular cancer.

East London Cansa divisional coordinator Nomvuyo Gqibitole said the MANVan mobile health clinic provided free health checks and support programmes while raising awareness of male-specific cancers.

“The main objective is to sensitise men about the importance of screening for early detection and risk reduction purposes,” Gqibitole said.

Colorectal cancer is associated with changes in bowel movement and may include symptoms such as rectal bleeding, stomach pain, weakness and unexplained weight loss.

Treatment of the cancer may include surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, or a combination of these. Prognosis also depends on how far the cancer has advanced.

Kaposi Sarcoma (KS) is a cancer that causes patches of abnormal tissue to grow under the skin, in the lining of the mouth, nose and throat or in other organs.

Symptoms may include skin lesions (pink to brown, brown-red or reddish purple), swelling in the arms, legs and elsewhere due to KS damaging lymph vessels, and anaemia as the lesions occasionally bleed.

According to Cansa, before the HIV-Aids epidemic took effect, KS developed slowly but they have found that KS moved quickly in HIV-Aids patients.

Cancer of the bladder may include symptoms such as blood in urine, frequent urination, burning pain when urinating and change in colour of urine.

Risk factors include smoking, a family history of the cancer type and being older than 55.

As with all it is with treating all cancers, early prognosis is key. Treatment includes chemotherapy, radiation therapy and drugs administered directly into the bladder.

The community is encouraged to organise awareness events and also invite the organisation to give talks at these engagements.

“Presentations are done through wellness events, churches, corporates and community out- reach events,” Gqibitole said.

The organisation can be reached on 043-727-0120 for more information and there are also support groups for those affected.

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