12 June 2023 .Brussels , Belgium
EVENTS, Raising Awareness

International Men’s Health Week 2023

International Men’s Health Week (IMHW) is an annual occasion that aims to raise awareness about the health challenges faced by men and promote strategies for better physical and mental well-being. With the ambition of encouraging men of all ages to prioritise their health, seek preventive care, and engage in conversations about important health issues.

One health challenge that disproportionately impacts men is bladder cancer. Ranked among the top ten most prevalent cancers globally, men are four times more likely than women to develop this disease. The International Agency for Research on Cancer estimated in 2020 that over 440,000 men got diagnosed with bladder cancer in comparison to over 130,000 women.

Why such a large disparity? The answer may be in environmental factors:

  • Men traditionally have higher rates of tobacco use, a known major contributor to bladder cancer.
  • Men have historically been more likely to work in industries such as paint, metal, petroleum, and rubber production, where exposure to carcinogens is significantly higher.

When it comes to symptoms, blood in the urine is the most common symptom of bladder cancer and often the first sign that is noticed. In the early stages of bladder cancer there is usually minimal or no associated pain. Notably, there may be long periods (weeks or even months) of clear urine in between episodes of blood.

Other indicators may involve changes in urinary habits and symptoms of urinary irritation. These symptoms can include increased frequency and/or urgency of urination, pain or a burning sensation during urination, or difficulty passing urine.

Though common, bladder cancer symptoms often remain a taboo subject. The reluctance to discuss these signs can significantly impact men’s quality of life and may lead to delayed diagnoses. Let’s break this stigma. It’s imperative that men familiarise themselves with these signs to take an active role in their health, seeking medical attention at the first sign of trouble.

Explore our infographic: “Stigma: The invisible side of bladder cancer” highlighting the impact of stigma on people affected by bladder cancer based on shared lived experiences from patients and caregivers.

We invite you to visit our Bladder Cancer information pages to know more about bladder cancer and initiate the conversation with your community.

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