<p>Men's health is often neglected – shoved under the carpet of masculine strength and fortitude. This neglect invariably leads to health problems, often not limited to just physical, but also mental health issues. International Men's Day on November 19 celebrates the contributions and achievements of men and is observed also to advocate for men's physical and mental health. The Aga Khan University Hospital supports the cause to talk about and promote the importance of men's health and wellbeing. The University Hospital offers tertiary care for common medical problems men face, and this year, is focusing on conversation around men's mental health and prostate and testicular cancer.
</p><p><strong>Mental Health</strong></p><p>Society's expectations and traditional gender roles explain why men are less likely to discuss or seek help for their mental health problems. Gender stereotypes can be damaging and raise mental issues for men. Suicide is one of the most common reasons of death in men under the age of 50.</p><p>Research also suggests that men who can't speak openly about their emotions may be less able to recognise symptoms of mental health problems in themselves and less likely to reach out for support.</p><p>According to Dr Nargis Asad, Clinical Psychologist and Associate Professor Department of Psychiatry at the Aga Khan University, Karachi, the most common mental health issues men and boys suffer from include depression, bipolar illnesses, schizophrenia, neurodevelopmental disorders, autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). </p><p>“Cultural norms related to traditional masculine role puts men under immense stress; culture expects men to be strong, in control of emotions, and showing signs of distress or emotionality is akin to being weak. The role of a bread earner is also a strain, and asking women to help financially is again considered as unmanly," says Dr Asad.</p><p><strong>Prostate Cancer</strong></p><p>The prostate is a gland in the urine passage which produces semen. Men in later years of life can develop cancer in the prostate gland. Unfortunately, there are no apparent signs of this disease in the early phase and there are no clear causes. However, an overall unhealthy lifestyle, tobacco use, and multiple sex partners are some general causes. </p><p>According to Professor and Section Head, Urology at Aga Khan University, Dr Hammad Ather, prostate cancer is the 13<sup>th</sup> most common type of cancer in Pakistan and 5<sup>th</sup> most common among men. Prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in men over 60 years of age.</p><p>Asian men less likely to develop prostate cancer. Even men at greater risk due to age, race, or genetics can reduce their chances of developing this type of cancer by adopting healthy diets and lifestyles. However, early detection is in high-risk populations is the only way to receive early treatment. One of the risks besides genetic and race is a family member (father or brother) having prostate cancer. </p><p>“Prostate cancer is preventable by reducing fat intake, increasing the consumption of fruits, vegetables, green tea, soy, and avoiding charred meat," says Dr Hammad.</p><p><strong>Testicular Cancer</strong></p><p>Testicular cancer manifests itself as a hard lump in the testes and is often not associated with any pain.</p><p>According to Dr Hammad, testicular cancer is not very common in Pakistan and ranks 28<sup>th</sup> in terms of frequency. Two in every 100,000 people are affected by this cancer.</p><p>“If testicular cancer is diagnosed in its initial stages, it can be treated by surgical removal of the testis followed by radiation and chemotherapy. This tumour responds very well to chemotherapy and is considered as the most responsive to chemotherapy."</p><p>Family history of testicular cancer is also a risk factor, and it is advised to do testicular self-examination regularly to identify the disease early. This form of cancer is highly treatable, even when it has spread beyond the testicle. Depending on the type and stage of testicular cancer, you may receive one of several treatments or a combination.</p><p><strong>To book an appointment, call </strong>:<strong> </strong>(021) 111 911 911 Or visit our website to request an <a href="https://bit.ly/3kUj4jD">appointment</a>.