Dr Mike Clark, GP with High Street Surgery, Macclesfield and NHS Eastern Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) clinical lead for urology WE’VE all become very used to Movember, it’s such an established part of the calendar that it’s easy to forget there’s a very serious reason many our friends and colleagues are walking round with at times alarming moustaches.
Men are dying too young. The Movember Foundation addresses prostate cancer, testicular cancer and mental health and suicide prevention – all of which are key areas of work for us at NHS Eastern Cheshire CCG.
Firstly, we want as many people to live well and survive cancer as possible – which is why we’ve made diagnosing cancer early one of our top priorities.
We’re funding early-detection education for our GP practices, taking a targeted approach to screening and developing a five-year cancer strategy – but you can help too, by being selfcare aware.
Prostate cancer usually develops slowly, so there may be no signs for many years. But you may notice things like an increased need to urinate, straining while urinating and a feeling that your bladder has not fully emptied.
These symptoms shouldn’t be ignored, but they do not mean you definitely have prostate cancer, in fact it’s more likely they are caused by something else. However, you should still make an appointment at your GP practice, if only to put your mind at rest.
Secondly, we all find it difficult to tell our close friends and family when we are experiencing depression and low mood, let alone a health professional, but men are particularly prone to struggling alone. Indeed, three out of four suicides are men. That’s one of the reasons we’re commissioning a wellbeing hub as part of our mental health service, meaning people have the option to self-refer for talking therapies, rather than having to speak to a GP.
The new services go live in January 2017 and we’ll be providing updates over the coming months as more plans develop. If you would like to know more, contact my colleague Emma Leigh via: emmaleigh@ nhs.net.