What is Movember all about?

by | 25 Nov, 2022 | Uncategorized


What is Movember all about?

Movember is all about tackling prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental health and suicide prevention. In this blog we will be focusing on prostate cancer & testicular cancer.



Facts about prostate cancer:

  • Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men in SA (1 in 7)
  • It is said that by the age of about 50, around half of all men have small changes in the size and shape of the cells in the prostate 


Risk factors for developing prostate cancer:

  • Family history – family history of the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation or a very strong history of women with breast cancer, increases risk 
  • Race/ethnicity – more often in South African black men; prostate cancer is also said to be more aggressive or advanced in black men
  • Diet – men who eat a lot of red meat or high-fat dairy products appear to have a slightly higher risk 
  • Obesity (with specific reference to belly fat)  – obese men diagnosed are more likely to have advanced disease that is more difficult to treat 
  • Use of Anabolic Steroids – following side effects: 
    • Infertility (low sperm count) 
    • Impotence/ED
    • Testicular shrinkage 
    • Baldness 
    • Testicular/prostate cancer 
    • Enlarged breast tissue 
  • High alcohol intake 
  • Smoking
  • Lack of exercise


What are the symptoms of prostate cancer?

How do we differentiate between prostate infection, benign enlargement and prostate cancer?

How do we diagnose prostate cancer?



How do we diagnose prostate cancer?

  • Men over age 50 (or 40 with a family history of prostate cancer) testing for prostate cancer using the PSA test and DRE as part of their annual health check-ups
  • PSA screening:
    • The PSA blood test looks for the presence in the blood of a protein that is produced specifically by prostate cells called Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA). The presence of an elevated PSA does not necessarily mean prostate cancer
    • Screening does not lower one’s risk of having prostate cancer; it increases the chance that one will find out that one has it
    • PSA testing can detect early-stage cancers that a digital rectal examination (DRE) would miss
    • A “normal” PSA level of 4 ng/ml or below does not guarantee that one is cancer-free; in about 15% of men with a PSA below 4 ng/ml, a biopsy will reveal prostate cancer
    • Conditions other than cancer – non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate (BPH) and prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate), for example, can elevate one’s PSA level
  • DRE:
    • involves the insertion a gloved finger in the anus, where it is possible to feel part of the surface of the prostate (this is no longer the gold standard and PSA is adequate)
  • Biopsy is a small tissue sample taken with a spring loaded needle  (under ultrasound guidance)
  • CT scan


Facts about testicular cancer:

  • SA: One of the most common cancers in young males – affects men mostly in their reproductive years (aged 15 to 49yrs of age)
  • Usually affects only 1 testicle
  • Can make a man infertile

Risk factors for developing testicular cancer:

  • Babies born with undescended testicles
  • Congenital (born with) abnormalities of a testicle, penis, kidney and inguinal hernias (hernia in groin area)
  • A family history of testicular cancer
  • Family history of breast cancer or malignant melanoma
  • Personal history of testicular cancer
  • HIV
  • Race (5 times more likely in caucasian population)
  • Age: 15 to 49yrs of age
  • Using marijuana (dagga or cannabis)

What are the symptoms of testicular cancer?

  • A painless swelling or lump in one or both testicles
    • Any painless lump on a testicle that does not respond promptly to antibiotic treatment
  • Enlarged or swollen testicle
  • Pain in, or feeling of heaviness in a testicle/uncomfortable feeling in a testicle
  • An ache in the lower abdomen, back or groin
  • Significant shrinking of a testicle
  • A change in the consistency of a testicle
  • If the cancer has already spread to the lungs, problems like shortness of breath, chest pain, or cough (even coughing up blood) may develop
  • In rare cases, testicular cancer spreads to the brain and can cause headaches and confusion

What does testicular self-examinations entail?

  • Remember that one testicle (usually the right one) is slightly larger than the other for most guys — this is also normal
  • It is also normal for the testicles to hang at different heights – the left testicle usually hangs lower than the right testicle
  • Epididymis (the sperm-carrying tube), which feels soft, rope-like, and slightly tender to pressure, and is located at the top of the back part of each testicle. This is a normal lump
  • Firstly, decide on a regular time once a month to do your self examination
  • Examine your testicles directly after a warm bath or shower
  • Stand in front of a mirror and look for any swelling



How do we diagnose testicular cancer?

  • Blood tests that measure the levels of tumour markers like alpha-fetoprotein (AFP), beta-human chorionic gonadotropin (βHCG), and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH)
  • Ultrasound –show the presence and size of a mass in the testicle
  • Biopsy (microscopic examination of testicular tissue by pathologist) to determine whether cancer is present
  • If testicular cancer is found, more tests are needed to find out if the cancer has spread from the testicle to other parts of the body. Determining the stage of the cancer helps the planning of appropriate treatment


What are the treatment options for prostate and testicular cancer?

  • Surgery
  • Radiation
  • Chemotherapy


REMEMBER: Highly treatable especially if caught early