Ladies we are back shouting about health, the health of our men. It is no secret that the Black woman is the backbone of her family, we are the matriarch by choice or by default and what a mantel we hold. There are so many negative connotations about the strength of a Black woman, but we are so grateful you and I and we are all filled with it in abundance.
This is why we at OY know you are the best people to talk to about your Black mans health. Know-one wants to talk about Cancer so lets do our best to prevent that by talking screening.
Prostate cancer is cancer that develops in the prostate. The prostate is a small walnut-shaped gland in males. The Prostate produces the seminal fluid that nourishes and transports sperm. This is one of the most common types of cancer.
In the early-stages of prostate cancer the cancer cells are only found in the prostate. Compared with many other cancers, prostate cancer usually develops slowly. It can take 10 to 30 years before a prostate tumor gets big enough to cause symptoms or for doctors to find it.
♂The Risk factors:
Prostate cancer is associated with men who:
are over the age of 50, with the risk increasing as they get older
have a high body mass index
have a low level of physical activity
consume low levels of tomato sauce
have high calcium intake
have a high linoleic acid (a polyunsaturated omega-6 fatty acid) intake
are of Black ethnicity
have a positive family history (particularly a father or brother who was diagnosed before age 55)
Being born with a specific gene mutation is an unavoidable risk of prostate cancer may also be a reason why prostate cancer runs in families. BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations and other inherited mutations, including HOXB13 and DNA mismatch repair genes are known risk factors.
1 in 8 men will get prostate cancer but this number increases to 1 in 4 for our Black Men, 50% more likely to develop it over any other ethnicity. For those of mixed Black heritage are also at higher risk however we were unable to find the exact statistics. Prostate cancer is not always life-threatening, but the earlier you catch it the more likely it is to be cured.
♂Signs and symptoms:
Pain and/or a "burning sensation" when urinating
Pain and/or a "burning sensation" when ejaculating.
Frequent urination, especially throughout the night.
Problems starting urination, or stopping urination during the progress.
Sudden erectile dysfunction.
Blood in either urine or semen.
back pain, hip pain or pelvis pain
problems getting or keeping an erection
unexplained weight loss.
These symptoms can all be caused by other health problems. But it’s still a good idea to talk with a doctor about any symptoms so they can find out what’s causing them and make sure you get the right treatment, if you need it.
There is no easy way for a man to test himself for prostate cancer at home. So, it's recommended that men who have symptoms should see a medical doctor. There is no single test to diagnose prostate cancer and the doctor may want to do a urine test, digital rectal exam DRE, as they have experience feeling prostates which are enlarged or have lumps and a prostate specific antigen(PSA) test.
In the UK, instead of a national screening programme, there is an informed choice programme, called prostate cancer risk management, for healthy men aged 50 or over who ask their doctor about PSA testing. The programme aims to give men good information on the pros and cons of a PSA test. If men aged 50 or over decide to have your PSA levels tested after talking to a doctor, they can arrange for it to be carried out free on the NHS. If the results show you have a raised level of PSA, the doctor may suggest further tests need to be carried out.
PSA tests on their own are not a reliable test and can lead to false positives, and so most men with a high/positive result will be offered Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) before any invasive tests are preformed.
It's not just the men who need the support when results are not as we would hope so remember to seek what you need too.
♂What else can you do:
Talk with others, family and friends, healthcare professionals and support services. Join forces with other families and organisations to raise awareness, and if you can, tell your story! Your family is unique and your experience will be unique also but there will be things that will touch, support, encourage and empower others.
Get involved with charity events such as:
We have to be honest, the information we found out about Prostate cancer was upsetting, disappointing and frustrating. As Black females we are surrounded by our Black male counterparts of all ages and this is nothing we hear them discuss. But what if it was? What if they were talking about it, what would they say? Would they discuss how the disease affects them twice as much as other ethnicities? That their risk of the disease can begin at an earlier age, around 45 and yet the informed choice programme is not accessible until they are 50? Are our men going to say no to screening because of fears of healthcare provisions or the DRE impacting on their beliefs about manhood?
We are not going to lie, those thoughts, feelings and beliefs are all understandable but we have to make them see pass the flaws in the system and the damning statistics. We have to empower them to know their bodies, what's normal and what is NOT! We too can listen for that delayed pee or an increase in frequency during the night. We can notice external changes visually or felt that would enable them to question things with doctors. and we can encourage them to be accountable for their health and not assume changes like erectile dysfunction are purely due to alcohol consumption or tiredness (although both can be true).
Please read more and share with all of the men in your life! ♂