Cancer is one of those things that people speak in hushed tones about but if anyone who was a big Sex in the City fan will know (and fess up, loads of you are!), talking about it, is one of the best things you can do. There are lots of different cancers, just about any cell in your body can decide to go it's merry little way and produce hundreds of clones of itself and then you've got cancer. There isn't space or time to go into all the different types, lots of them are very rare and hopefully few of us will be affected by them in our lives, so here are some of the ones to look out for, the key thing is if you're worried go and get it checked out, many cancers can be treated really well if caught early so don't hang about just go and see your GP.
That's cancer of your balls. It's quite common and affects often young men in their teens and twenties. The key to this one is catch it early, and the way to do that is to play with your balls a lot, get used to how they feel, run your fingers over them in the shower (it's easier standing up) so you get used to what they feel like and if you feel a lump or are concerned pop down to your GP and have a chat. There's a good leaflet at www.gmh.org.uk/main/balls which helps you work out what to look out for.
The prostate is a gland which sits just inside you arse, you can feel it if you finger yourself as a small walnut shaped lump, and it's the bit of you which helps make the fluid bit of cum. Prostate cancer normally affects mature guys and can usually be treated easily. The signs to look out for are
- Needing to piss often and getting little warning that you need to go.
- Finding it hard to start or stop pissing.
- Lots of dribbling at the end of a piss.
- Finding it a strain to empty your bladder properly.
- Leaking or dribbling piss.
Sometimes your prostate can get enlarged or inflamed for other reasons and that can give you similar symptoms and you may need a blood test to work out what's going on. The main thing is…go and see a doctor! There's more info at www.prostate-cancer.org.uk
In 2007 NHS Barking and Dagenham produced a specific leaflet on cancer for Gay Men which you can download here:
Gay Men's Cancer PDF
The American Cancer Association have produced a really useful leaflet on cancer for Gay Men which highlights some of the other key cancers affecting gay men, you can download it here.
If you do have cancer or have a friend or relative who has cancer sometimes it's nice to be able to talk or email other people in similar situations. This website is quite useful for linking people together with similar conditions so might be worth a look www.mywavelength.com and there is also the Out with Cancer project which is a specific LGBT resource on cancer.