"Man Health", wut de hell is dat?
Yes, that's generally how men react to doctors and probing; they become withdrawn from the conversation. If it wasn't for the IMO, I think a fair bit of men would probably never see a health professional. But of course with seafarers requiring a physical done every two years, we are not afraid to talk about health issues aboard. I know just the other day we were talking about mental health issues - our shipmate's mental health - see we talk openly about health aboard.
Another talker about health is the US Coast Guard's point man
(Commandant, USCG), Admiral Bob Papp
. As matter of fact the whole organization is talking about it, and I think its a good thing. The other day, the USCG issued a press release stating that the Admiral had undergone surgery to treat the early stages of Prostate cancer. His proactive attitude allowed for an early detection of the disease; therefore a step up on beating it. It's a message he's spread through the rank and file of the USCG, but it is certainly a message for all of us men, ashore and at sea.
Having a proactive prostate cancer attitude is a good message, because you probably already have it, or at least you are very likely to have it. Yes, prostate cancer is the most common cancers for men in the United States. The risk of getting it generally starts at age 50, and by the ripe old age of 80, 80% of us men will have it. However, it is not always fatal.
According to Wikipedia, genetics play a role, but a poor diet rich in red meat and low on fruits and vegetables, and drinking alcohol may put you at heightened risk. Furthermore a lack of natural (UV) light also plays a significant role. So obviously, seafarers, in particular Marine Engineers, are in an elevated risk category, I would propose.
So what to look for... from Prostate cancer on Wikipedia
Early prostate cancer usually causes no symptoms. Sometimes, however, prostate cancer does cause symptoms, often similar to those of diseases such as benign prostatic hyperplasia. These include frequent urination, nocturia (increased urination at night), difficulty starting and maintaining a steady stream of urine, hematuria (blood in the urine), and dysuria (painful urination).
Prostate cancer is associated with urinary dysfunction as the prostate gland surrounds the prostatic urethra. Changes within the gland, therefore, directly affect urinary function. Because the vas deferens deposits seminal fluid into the prostatic urethra, and secretions from the prostate gland itself are included in semen content, prostate cancer may also cause problems with sexual function and performance, such as difficulty achieving erection or painful ejaculation.
Advanced prostate cancer can spread to other parts of the body, possibly causing additional symptoms. The most common symptom is bone pain, often in the vertebrae (bones of the spine), pelvis, or ribs. Spread of cancer into other bones such as the femur is usually to the proximal part of the bone. Prostate cancer in the spine can also compress the spinal cord, causing leg weakness and urinary and fecal incontinence.
I think its great for Admiral Papp to share his personal experiences, encouraging other men to take notice early. I myself celebrate Movember
every time I'm on board, although some of my shipmates have questioned my true motivation for the dishevelled look, and wonder if I am really supporting this prostate cancer
awareness tool. Regardless, as I creep into my forties, and most of my Marine Engineering peers are well into their 50's, I think its an important message for us all.
Thanks Admiral Papp, and all the best to you and your family for a positive recovery.