Early Detection Plays Key Role
2 November 2022 – Men’s Health Awareness month is recognised globally in November, with 19 November celebrated as International Men’s Day – a day recognising the positive value men bring to their families and communities and raise awareness with a focus on men’s health and wellbeing. CANSA highlights the importance of the top five leading cancers affecting men in South Africa and urges men to go for regular check-ups, not only during November, but throughout the year. View infographic…
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Lorraine Govender, National Manager: Health Promotion at CANSA, explains, “Men should be proactive about their health. CANSA encourages monthly testicular self-examinations, annual check-ups and cancer screening for early detection, as symptoms don’t always present until cancer has spread. The number of men being diagnosed with late-stage cancer is increasing and this is alarming.”
Prostate cancer remains the number one of the top five cancers among men, with one in 15 men at risk, according to the National Cancer Registry (NCR) 2019 statistics. It often grows slowly and may not cause significant harm, but some types are more aggressive and can spread quickly without treatment.
Screening results in early detection, enabling more effective treatment and a better chance of recovery. CANSA recommends routine Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) blood tests annually, from age 40 for all men at risk to detect prostate abnormalities. High PSA levels may indicate inflammation of the prostate or even cancer. The PSA test may be accompanied by a Digital Rectal Exam. PSA tests are available, by appointment, at CANSA Care Centres nationwide at affordable rates.
Cancer survivor Andreas Kleynhans, diagnosed with Grade 1 prostate cancer after a routine check-up, says, “Prostate cancer was a big shock since I was healthy throughout my whole life: Seven months later the cancer had metastasised (spread) to the hip bone and was now Grade 4, meaning that this type of cancer could not be healed, but only slowed down and symptoms managed.”
His advice to men is to “Please test PSA levels regularly. Prostate cancer is very curable when it’s detected early. And even when it’s advanced as mine, there is hope. Yes, a digital rectal exam is a bit awkward the first time but it’s necessary. In the end, it’s all about how you think about it and what it can mean for your health. You can’t determine what happens to you, but you can decide how to react to it. I choose to tell my story and to make something positive of it.”
Colorectal, or colon cancer is the second most common cancer in men with one in 77 men being diagnosed according to the NCR (2019). There is evidence of many younger individuals being diagnosed with colorectal cancer.
Lung cancer is the third most common cancer in men and ranks as the number one cause of cancer deaths. There is, low awareness of lung cancer in South Africa which is why CANSA provides lung cancer information and implements health campaigns to increase education and awareness.
Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (NHL), is cancer of the lymphoid tissue, which includes the lymph nodes, spleen and other organs of the immune system. It’s the fourth most common cancer in men and it’s estimated that one in 176 men will develop NHL, according to the NCR 2019.
Melanoma has replaced bladder cancer as the fifth most common in men with one in 168 men at risk during their lifetime, showing an overall increase in skin cancer numbers. This may be due to improved screening methods or an overall increase in these numbers. Melanoma is less common than other skin cancers, but it’s the most dangerous.
Govender adds, “Early detection is key when it comes to beating cancer. Recognise changes in your own body and act upon any changes or symptoms that develop and go for regular screening.”
David Lucas, prostate cancer survivor and CANSA Relay For Life Global Hero of Hope encourages men to reach out for support and make use of services, such as CANSA’s ‘Men Supporting Men Groups’.
“When it comes to men, I have found that once men see that you are open about your challenges, they do become more relaxed and freer in asking questions, relaying their fears and anxieties as well as dealing with a disease that has a worldwide brotherhood,” he states.
Govender concludes, “If you, or a loved one, have been diagnosed with cancer, contact your local CANSA Care Centre to access CANSA’s care and support programmes, such as medical equipment hire, wigs, counselling, tele counselling, support groups, online support groups and resources, as well as CANSA Care Homes where patients receiving treatment far from home can stay during treatment. Support and information can also be obtained via the CANSA Help Desk on 0800 22 6622 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
(For more information, please contact Lucy Balona, Head: Marketing and Communication at email email@example.com or call 082 459 5230).
CANSA offers a unique integrated service to the public and to all people affected by cancer. CANSA is a leading role-player in cancer research and the scientific findings and knowledge gained from our research are used to realign our health programmes, as well as strengthen our watchdog role to the greater benefit of the public. Our health programmes comprise health and education campaigns; CANSA Care Centres that offer a wide range of care and support services to those affected by cancer; stoma and other clinical support; medical equipment hire, as well as a toll-free line to offer information and support. We offer a Tele Counselling service in seven languages free of charge. We also supply patient care and support in the form of 8 CANSA Care Homes in the main metropolitan areas for out-of-town cancer patients and CANSA-TLC lodging for parents and guardians of children undergoing cancer treatment.
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