Gary Lineker decided to come forward with his own experience around prostate cancer, warning against people neglecting the stigmatised health subject. He explained that after getting regular full body checkups he had a prostate cancer scare. He said: “A lot of men, we sometimes think, ‘I’m all right’, We don’t want to see doctors. We are all a little bit scared of having something and I think it’s fair to share that,” he told the Sun. Lineker also plans to include a brain scan in his next medical exam, after research was published linking the career length of footballers to their risk of developing dementia.
In Gary’s case the prostate scare turned out to be nothing, but he encourages more people to get themselves screened for prostate cancer.
There are not any prevention factors for prostate cancer, and your risk of developing it grows with age.
Cancer Research UK projects that one in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime.
Trans women and non-binary people assigned male at birth can also develop prostate cancer, although some studies suggest they have a lower risk than cis men.
Academic research and insurance information both suggest that men are less likely to pursue medical advice, both in the form of general check ups and seeking diagnosis after falling ill.
In some surveys men reported that they felt less masculine consulting a doctor.
Dr Will Courtenay, a psychotherapist, told webMD that many men hold the belief that seeking help, even in a medical environment, is a sign of personal weakness or admission of defeat.
He said: “Guys often worry that they will be seen as less than a man if they are concerned about their health.”
When men do consult with their doctors they are also more likely to leave out symptoms they consider embarrassing.
Forty-two percent of men in one study withheld information not only from their doctors but from their friends or family to avoid starting an argument.
Dr Courtenay says that a failed attempt to persuade someone into getting help is liable to make them close up out of stubbornness. “The problem is pushing him to take action before he’s ready.
“So, you just want to help him to start thinking about going to the doctor.”
Prostate cancer is not diagnosed with a single test and your GP with discuss with you what options are most appropriate.
Urine tests can be used to rule out other infections, while a blood test can detect for antigens common to prostate cancer.
A digital rectal exam may also be conducted, which takes minimal time and does not cause pain.
There are counselling services available for people who are afraid of close physical examination, but no test will be conducted without your consent.