Make room for Movember, and men’s health

A movement that is bringing awareness to men's health.
Published: Nov. 11, 2022 at 10:08 AM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - November or “Movember” is in full swing. It is a month to raise awareness surrounding men’s health—specifically having conversations surrounding prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and mental health.

According to the American Cancer Society, aside from skin cancer, the prostate is the most common cancer among American men.

For those with advanced prostate cancers, some symptoms could include:

  • Problems urinating, including a slow or weak urinary stream or the need to urinate more often, especially at night
  • Blood in the urine or semen
  • Trouble getting an erection (erectile dysfunction or ed)
  • Pain in the hips, back (spine), chest (ribs), or other areas from cancer that has spread to bones
  • Weakness or numbness in the legs or feet, or even loss of bladder or bowel control from cancer pressing on the spinal cord

It is also noted that “most of these problems are more likely to be caused by something other than prostate cancer. For example, trouble urinating is much more often caused by benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), non-cancerous growth of the prostate. Still, it’s important to tell your healthcare provider if you have any of these symptoms so that the cause can be found and treated if needed. Some men might need more tests to check for prostate cancer”

Dr. Tony Nimeh is a Urologist at Fairbanks Urology, who specializes in men’s sexual health, as well as urinary health. This includes kidney health, kidney cancer, kidney stones as well as bladder cancer and stones.

“Men’s health is a really underserved area in medicine,” said Nimeh. “A lot of times, men will only go see their doctor the first time something really, really breaks down.”

He said many patients he sees are well into their 40′s and 50′s and they have never been seen by a doctor in this capacity.

“That’s really too bad because there are a lot of important things to get screened for,” said Nimeh. “For example, PSA’s (prostate cancer screening), which takes two seconds to do, and it screens people for prostate cancer and a lot of men are not getting their PSA done.”

Nimeh added, “Sometimes a simple blood test can be a way to detect any health concerns and address them before they become a problem.” He noted many times, men show up when their prostate cancer has already spread or has become very advanced.

“So the sooner we can detect these issues, the better it is,” he said. “A lot of times people say I’m fine I don’t have any problems; I don’t have any symptoms. Well, the problem is if you wait until the symptoms come up it is kind of too late we miss that window of opportunity to intervene and benefit from giving someone the best chance of cure with the least amount of side effects.”

For some men, actively seeking preventative medical care is not on their minds. Nimeh said this could be part of a culture where men are afraid of going to the doctor for fear there is something wrong or being viewed as weak. Nimeh said he hopes that men think differently and break the habit of thinking that way.

“If you have a car, you take care of it, you don’t want it to break down before changing the oil,” Nimeh used an analogy to describe the process. “It’s the same way, your body needs maintenance. You eat every morning. You brush your teeth. There are things in modern medicine that you know you need to get checked out for that are beyond eating, and drinking, and brushing your teeth, that are going to make your life longer and better,” added Nimeh.

Dr. Nimeh recommends men by the age of 50 get a prostate cancer screening or PSA test.

“If you look at 100 years ago, people used to live much shorter lives, so we are making advancements,” he said. “these things to work. And I think that it is our responsibility to take care of our body with the information that we have.”

He also noted that men tend to procrastinate. He hopes by Fairbanks Urology offering a free “Men’s Health Day” clinic, more men will be willing to take the first step. Additionally, the event is not limited to men over 50. This free clinic applies to men of all ages. There will be health checkups that will take in the practice office, and a photo id must be provided for all patients to be screened.

The free men’s health day clinic will take place this Saturday, November 12, 2022, at Fairbanks Urology located at 1121 Cushman street, across from Tony’s Sports Bar and Grill and The Donut Shoppe in Fairbanks. Health checks will be offered from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

More information can be found on the Fairbanks Urology website or on their Facebook page.