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|This is archive material from the MHF's malehealth.co.uk website which is now part of this site in the section Male Health. This page remains on the site as site traffic suggests visitors find this page useful but it may not be up to date and links may not work. It was last updated in 2005 and so does not conform to the NHS England Information Standard of which the MHF is a member. The material is currently being updated and a link will be posted here in due course.|
Cancer develops when one or more cells in the body begin to divide abnormally. Usually cells only divide to replace those that have died, but sometimes something goes wrong and a single cell multiplies into a lump or tumour. Not all of these lumps are particularly dangerous. Many are benign and will not spread any further.
But some are malignant — this means they have the potential to spread throughout the body damaging tissues and bone, blocking passageways, and destroying nerves. These are the tumours referred to as cancers.
The symptoms vary from cancer to cancer but these are some of the more general ones:
One in three people will get cancer at some time in their lives, and one in four will die from the disease.
There are over 260,000 new cancer cases each year, of which just over half affect men.
The Government's Office of National Statistics publishes odds for specific cancers. The odds for men for the three most common are:
Some of these individual odds look pretty long, but in combination they add up. Your risk of developing any cancer at some time is in fact as low as 5-2. Moreover, lifestyle factors such as smoking can make your personal odds on getting cancer even shorter.
There are three cancers that affect men only:
Most cancers are probably caused by a combination of a genetic susceptibility and a cancer-causing trigger.
The major causes of cancer are:
There's no sure-fire way to prevent cancer. But there are many ways to reduce your risk of succumbing to it:
Click here for the World Cancer Research Fund's six cancer prevention tips.
Because of the way cancer develops through cell division, the quicker a cancer is found, the more easily it can be treated. In other words, if you have any concerns, or any of the possible symptoms of cancer, see your GP promptly.
The GP will want to know more about your symptoms and your personal and family medical histories, and will probably order one or more common tests for cancer to obtain a definite diagnosis. You may also be referred to an oncologist, medical-speak for a specialist cancer doctor.
The exploratory period can be very stressful and sometimes even a cancer diagnosis can come almost as a relief.
There are several treatments available to treat cancer. Many patients will experience a combination of them.
Find out the facts. Ask your doctor, read information sheets and medical reference books, ring helplines, use the Internet (with caution — there's too much inaccurate information on too many web sites).
Cancer treatment has developed hugely in recent years but public perception is still surprisingly out of date. Cancer is not the inevitable killer it once was. A third of people diagnosed with cancer are still alive five years later — and with some cancers the survival rates are far higher: in testicular cancer, for example, it's over 90%.
Today, cancer is only an inevitable killer if left untreated. Meanwhile, advances in both prevention and treatment continue to improve these figures. The Government has announced that it hopes to reduce cancer deaths by a further fifth in the ten years to 2010. In the future, as the genes implicated in various types of cancer are discovered, it may become possible in some cases for the disease to be detected even before the symptoms appear.
World Cancer Research Fund
Web site: www.wcrf-uk.org
Tel: 020 7343 4200
The only major UK registered charity dedicated to the prevention of cancer through healthy diets and associated lifestyles. Click here for the WCRF's six steps to avoid cancer and to download its information for men.
Bowel Cancer UK
Web site: www.bowelcanceruk.org.uk
Tel: 020 7381 9711
Guide To Internet Resources for Cancer
This is a comprehensive overview of everything on the net on cancer (and not just children's cancers).
Cancer Research UK
Web site : www.cancerresearchuk.org/
Major research organisation with a very informative website for patients.
Institute of Cancer Research
Web site: www.icr.ac.uk
Tel: 020 7352 8133
Macmillan Cancer Relief
Web site: www.macmillan.org.uk
Tel: 0808 808 2020
Site contains patient information and links to other organisations.
Orchid Cancer Appeal
Web site: www.orchid-cancer.org.uk
Site contains useful information for men with testicular cancer.
Prostate Cancer Charity
Web site: www.prostate-cancer.org.uk
Tel: 0845 300 8383
Prostate Help Association
Web site: www.pha.u-net.com
Prostate Research Campaign UK
Web site: www.prostate-research.org.uk
Beating Bowel Cancer
Web site: www.beatingbowelcancer.org
Tel: 020 8892 5256 or Specialist Nurse Advisory Line: 020 8892 1331
The UK charity for bowel cancer patients, providing information, education and support.
Cancer Black Care
Web site: www.cancerblackcare.org.uk
Tel: 020 8961 4151
Cancer Black Care is the UK's leading cancer support agency for people from the black and minority ethnic communities and beyond.
The Urology Foundation
Web site: www.theurologyfoundation.org
Aims to improve the diagnosis, treatment and management of urological disease through the development and support of medical education and sponsorship of research.
Jim Pollard, editor of malehealth.co.uk. Updated by malehealth for 2005.
It’s tough for men to ask for help but if you don’t ask when you need it, things generally only get worse. Especially during a major pandemic like Covid-19. So we’re asking.
Men appear more likely to get Covid-19 and far, far more likely to die from it. The Men's Health Forum are working hard pushing for more action on this from government, from health professionals and from all of us. Why are men more affected and what can we do about it? We need the data. We need the research. We need the action. Currently we're the only UK charity doing this - please help us.
Here’s our fund-raising page - please chip in if you can.