Men should abolish fear of cancer tests

07 Nov 2015 09:40am
WINDHOEK, 07 NOV (NAMPA) - The fear of going for prostate cancer tests is the single biggest stumbling block for men's own health. This came to light during a free cancer test day at the Cancer Association of Namibia (CAN) on Wednesday. Despite the invite and encouragement by CAN for journalists both male and female, less than 10 arrived for the free cancer screenings of which only one male opted for a testicular cancer test.
Unlike in the past where the prostate and testicular test were done by literally feeling around the manhood of a patient, times have changed and the test can now be done within five minutes by applying a blood sample to a rapid test. Although the test is not 100 per cent accurate, it is a good indication of weather the man should go for further tests or should not be worried at all.
Only two drops of blood is needed from a prick of a finger, and is mixed with a solution to detect the level of the Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA). PSA is a protein made by the prostate and when its level is abnormally high in the blood, this indicates that cancer is possibly present in the prostate. This test, although not 100 per cent accurate, serves as a good primary toolkit to identify PSA levels and from there, if any abnormally high levels are detected, CAN will refer a person for full blood analysis and the manual prostate examination.
Expression disappointment at men in Namibia, CAN Chief Executive Officer, Rolf Hansen told Nampa this week that men’s reluctance to a cancer test is associated with the belief that cancer is only an issue for women because of the prevalence of breast and cervical cancer.
Nampa spoke to some female journalists who attended the open day at the CAN and asked them why they think men are so reluctant to go for prostate and testicular cancer tests.
Apart from commending the media for sharing health stories, Anna Shinana from the Namibian Sun said, Government needs to get on board. “Government and institutions such as CAN should also be more involved in informing people about health issues.”
On why men are reluctant to for cancer testing, she said many still believe it is a ‘women's disease’ adding they should move away from that theory.
Radio newsreader from 99FM, Maggy Forcelledo told this agency it is more about pride.
“I will not necessarily say they (men) are scared of this kind of test but I think the problem is pride and ignorance.”
She said this mentality is keeping them away from an important thing, their health, and men should be encouraged to talk more about health issues as to feel comfortable with the status of their health.
The only man present for a free cancer screening, Sibongile Tshabalala from 99FM, aired the fear of losing his manhood as well as the cultural responsibility of having children.
“You can only do better if you know better and the only way to do better is to get tested.
“Manhood is the manhood and the perception of losing your manhood or something being wrong with your equipment would have you question weather you are still seen as a man,' he said.
To solve the problem and encourage men to go for the test, Tshabalala said everybody should talk about prostate and testicular cancer and encourage friends to go for the test and be prepared.
The CAN will again conduct men's cancer screenings on the 11th, 19th and 25th November at the cost of N.dollar 50.00.
As from 2016 men can go for screening every first Tuesday of the month for N.Dollar 50.00.
Some of the symptoms of possible prostate cancer are problems with erections, slow or continuous urinating, and or blood in the semen.
Since November is men's cancer awareness month, CAN embarked on various projects to sensitize men and encourage them to go for tests. Another initiative is the Movember project. Movember is a blend of the letters 'mo' in moustache and 'vember' in 'November'. The campaign is held annually and involves men growing moustaches and beards during the month of November to raise awareness of men's health issues, such as depression in men, prostate cancer, testicular cancer and other male cancers.