The end of 2015 is fast approaching. The planning of pending Christmas festivities is well and truly in motion. However, the next big event to tick off the calendar is ‘Movember’!

Over the past weeks there have plenty of spirited men once again growing their facial hair to raise awareness about prostate cancer, testicular cancer and other men’s health issues.

In Ireland, prostate cancer is the second most common cancer amongst men, after skin cancer. Luckily, treatment of prostate cancer can be very effective if the disease is caught early enough.

Each year 3,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer in Ireland. Currently, there are approximately 17,000 men living with the disease and approximately 500 men die from the disease in this country each year.

Prostate cancer is generally slow growing compared to other cancers, so symptoms like pain or difficulty passing urine might not develop until late in the disease. Prostate cancer is usually diagnosed when a PSA (prostate specific antigen) blood test is higher than normal.

Common symptoms of prostate cancer include; frequent urination (especially at night), difficulty in controlling the flow of urine, inability to urinate / slow flow of urine, urgent need to urinate, pain when passing urine, blood in the urine or semen, feeling of not emptying your bladder fully and/or pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips or upper thighs.

While ‘Movember’ has done a huge amount to raise awareness of prostate cancer and other men’s health issues, it is critical that the campaign gets people’s continued support. It is vital too that the topic is discussed with friends and family, young and old.

If you or a friend or relation has concerns about symptoms, please go to see your GP.

For more information about ‘Movember’, go to https://ie.movember.com/ and remember; dig deep and support those brave moustache growers!

Further information and supports are available from cancer advocacy and support groups nationwide, details of which are available at the Irish Cancer Society website www.cancer.ie.

Details about Aut Even Hospital’s Consultant Urologists, who specialise in the diagnosis of prostate cancer, can be found at www.autevenhospital.ie/urology