Published: November 20, 2020
In our search for answers to the more taboo subjects in life, I find the importance of such topics becoming more and more relevant, take men’s health and the weekly maintenance of ...you know, yes you know... shhh don’t make me say it!
No, say it we must, testicular cancer, I mean they are a part of our body just like the arm, or the ear, so we must say it like we say good morning.
The silence and why it is such a taboo subject still baffles me. So, on my quest for answers, I decided to call in and check with the stereotypical “big boys” to ask what their thoughts were around men’s mental health in general and get some answers on why there's still some embarrassment on the subject.
Connor is a 25-year-old powerlifter and British record holder so I was curious to find out what men's mental health meant to him.
“Good clean thoughts! Positive thoughts help me focus and stay healthy in my mind. It is important that I treat my mind and my mental health in the same way that I do my body”.
I then asked Connor what he thought about testicular cancer and the idea that regular checks were necessary. He laughed a little and brought the message right back to reality.
“I have never been asked before, but I do check myself as it is important as an athlete, and for every man to make sure that every part of them is in good order.”
My next interview was with Mike age 42, the owner of Steel City Gym in Middlesbrough. Seel City Gym is the oldest gym in the area, he is also a competitive champion bodybuilder, and as far as old school goes, he is the headmaster.
“Physical health is my bread and butter, but I know in this game and in any game, the mind is as important as the body, so when I hear wellbeing, I say being well, keep your body well and your mind well too”.
When asked about testicular cancer, Mick had the following to say:
“Well I am old school and I know we never really bothered, but I know that the old school needs to go, I do things differently these days. I always check mine, it's part of my monthly MOT” (laughs). But seriously, I don’t feel awkward talking about this which is how it should be."
Finally, I spoke to my good friend and family GP Dr. Rashpal Singh to try and conquer this mission that I found myself on.
Is there a stigma around men getting checked properly at the GP?
“Men can sometimes find it difficult reaching out for help with sensitive issues such as those related to men’s health. That said I have had lots of men come for testicular examinations in my 11 years as a GP, and I feel that they find it easier relating to another young male about the issue”
This was great news and perhaps evidence that maybe there was a change in how men viewed their health.
So, what age groups should get checked?
“There are no specific age groups. All men should self-check their testes, the best time to do this would be in the shower. If you feel any lumps, then it is important to contact your GP.”
What about the importance of being checked Dr?
“A check by the GP is quick and simple, sometimes we need to send patients for an ultrasound examination but again this is painless and simple and a very quick investigation”.
I found this very reassuring. So, I wanted to ask the Doctor if he had a message for our students here at Sunderland University?
"Yes! Self-examine your testes regularly and reach out for help if you notice anything unusual such as lumps”.
Overall, I found that the message was clear, the stigma exists but it is less apparent than it used to be. So let us spread the message and make this become a thing of the past because it's all a bit nuts if you ask me.
Wellbeing practitioner - Counselling
Topic: Advice and tips