“One of the main reasons men choose not to seek help is that social pressure and stigma force them to get into a ‘tough’ body shape,” he said
Despite growing awareness of health issues, some sensitive topics are still surrounded by stigma and taboo. Cancers related to the genital and urinary organs, such as prostate cancer and testicular cancer, fall into this category. A leading doctor is urging men to talk about the health problems, which are the leading cause of death from cancer.
Dr. Waleed Hassen, chair of the Department of Urology at the Cleveland Clinic’s Specialty Institute of Surgery in Abu Dhabi, noted that most societies are sensitive to discussions around the genitals.
“In English, they are often referred to as ‘private parts.’ So whether it’s penis or testicular pain, loss of urination control, or erectile dysfunction, many men continue to view these issues as private. For this reason, many choose to ‘ continue’ or resort to over-the-counter treatments that may be detrimental to their health,” Dr Hasson told the Khaleej Times.
“One of the main reasons men choose not to seek help is that social pressure and stigma force them to get into a ‘tough’ body shape, which creates a misleading climate of never needing or needing help. Sometimes, however, denial and delay can jeopardize a person’s health and overall life.”
Prostate cancer is the most common type of solid tumor affecting men worldwide, Dr. Hasson said. According to a 2020 World Health Organization report, prostate cancer is the fourth most common cancer worldwide, with 1.41 million cases. It usually affects men over the age of 65. Testicular cancer, on the other hand, is the most common cancer affecting men over the age of 20.
Signs, symptoms, red flags
Dr. Hasson noted that prostate cancer may not have any signs or symptoms in its early stages.
“However, some red flags may be frequent urination at night, difficulty urinating, blood in the urine or semen, and frequent pain or stiffness in the lower back, buttocks, or extremities. The biggest risk factor for prostate cancer is age, as 75% of cases occur in diagnosed in men over the age of 65. Family history, high-fat diet, and unhealthy lifestyle choices are some other factors to consider. Notably, one in four men in the UAE smokes, while more than 70% Overweight,” Dr Hasson said.
Watch out for the most common sign of testicular cancer as a painless lump in either testicle. Factors such as undescended testes, family medical history, and infertility are potential risk factors.
Diagnosis, treatment options
Dr. Hassen emphasized that men today have access to excellent diagnostic methods for detecting disorders of the testes and scrotum, such as ultrasounds and biopsies.
“There are other tests, including serum tumor marker tests, CT and PET scans, X-rays and MRI, that can help with advanced diagnosis,” said Dr. Hassen, who specializes in urological oncology and minimally invasive and robotic surgery.
Treatment options have improved tremendously over the years, Dr. Hasson said. These include routine laparoscopy, radical prostatectomy, and chemotherapy, radiotherapy, focal, hormonal, and radionuclide therapies, among others.
“Regular preventive screening is recommended for men over the age of 40. In addition, lifestyle changes such as maintaining a balanced diet, exercising regularly, quitting smoking, and managing other issues such as diabetes can help reduce the risk of these life-threatening diseases .”
Dr. Hasson emphasizes that men need to speak up and take control of their health.
“We all have a role to play in breaking down the stigma surrounding men’s health. Our programs, like MENtion It, provide countless men with a safe and inclusive space where they can access resources and experts to Get the treatment and advice you need. Therefore, we encourage men to become more aware of their health and contact specialists when needed,” added Dr Hasson.