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Men, It's Time To Speak Up When You Are Feeling Down

SMCV Consultants advocate for more men to speak up about their internal struggles and health concerns as it can potentially save their lives.

By Health & Fitness Editor

While it is definitely important to take care of one’s physical health, their mental and emotional health cannot be neglected as it contributes to their overall wellbeing. In conjunction with men’s health awareness month this November, Sunway Medical Centre Velocity (SMCV) wants to advocate for men to put their health first, no matter how challenging it may seem. 

A 2021 report by Frontiers in Psychiatry [1] revealed that suicide rates have increased significantly for males in Malaysia between 2014 and 2019. The figures showed that there was an average of 5.8 per 100,000 population – which is estimated to be 1,841 suicide deaths annually, with five deaths per day. These numbers are nothing short of alarming and should be taken seriously. 

A majority of men are breadwinners of their family and may find it difficult to open up about their struggles relating to physical and mental health. This can lead to illnesses or diseases being left untreated and the worsening of their health. 

Dr Celine Chan Tze Lin, Consultant Psychiatrist from SMCV shares that men who are unable to speak openly about their emotions may find it challenging to recognize symptoms of mental health problems themselves. Thus, they are less likely to reach out for support and may need the help of others close to them to see the signs. 

Dr Celine adds that having a strong support system for men, and any other patients has many positive benefits, including better coping skills, reduce depression and anxiety and stress. 

“Without good support system, men may also be more likely to use unhealthy coping methods and less likely to talk to family or friends about their mental health. One way to convince more men to seek help is to make them understand that it is OK to seek help and talk to someone who you trust and cares about you to relieve stress,” she says. 

Speaking up about silent killers 

Aside from discussing mental health issues, conducting self-checks and seeking treatment for diseases such as cancer can produce a better treatment outcome. Dato’ Dr Selvalingam Sothilingam, Consultant Urologist shares that silent killers, which refer to cancers that exist and cause minimal symptoms such as prostate and testicular cancer can be cured if detected early. 

“Prostate cancer can be confused with Benign Prostate Hyperplasia (BPH) which is a benign prostate condition affecting most aging man and is far more common than cancer. Testicular cancer, on the other hand may begin as a small lump in the testis and is more easily detected but can be missed unless a man performs regular testis self-examination,” Dato’ Dr Selvalingam explains. 

Both cancers can exist without any symptoms, but there are certain things that men should take into perspective, such as men with a family history of prostate or breast cancer, or men above 50 years old especially those with lower urinary tract symptoms – all of which should consult their doctor and consider screening for prostate cancer by doing the Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) tumour marker test. 

For testicular cancer, risk factors include those with small volume testis with infertility, men with a history of undescended testis or certain genetic disorders. Self-examination of the testis is a good way to detect any hardness or lumps in the testis. 

“Treatment of early prostate cancer is now safe and less complicated – the evolution of robotic assisted surgery and technological advancements in radiotherapy of the prostate are treatment options that often give good result with reduced side effects. 

“As for testicular cancer, the mainstay treatment is surgery to remove the testis, but men will still have the contralateral testis that will continue to produce the male hormone, testosterone and sperms.” The option of sperm banking prior to testicular surgery is also available for men who have yet to reproduce or wishing to complete their family. Early testicular cancer is curable, and the treatment is less costly than in cases of advanced testicular cancer,” Dato’ Dr Selvalingam highlights. 

Help is available

It can be a difficult process to receive a cancer diagnosis, and Dato’ Dr Selvalingam notes that patients can opt to go for counselling to help them through this period. “There are established NGOs such as the Prostate Cancer Society Malaysia (PCSM) that consist of cancer survivors and can provide new patients with words of advice and encouragement as they can empathize with their condition. PCSM also conduct support groups in various hospitals to address concerns of men who are newly diagnosed with prostate cancer.”

Dr Celine Chan concurs and adds that hospitals do provide mental health support in their specialized therapy departments in the form of psychiatrists, clinical psychologists and clinical counsellors who can help patients along their journey to recovery. “Men who are going through cancers such as these will feel down as they are having a medical condition related to the reproductive system. Psychosocial support from the patient’s loved ones, peers, and healthcare team, alongside regular health check-ups and healthy habits such as exercise has shown to drastically reduce mental health problems – so we should put an emphasis on that.”

Sunway Medical Centre Velocity is located at Lingkaran SV, Sunway Velocity. For enquiries, please contact +603 9772 9191 or email smcv-enquiry@sunway.com.my. For more information on Sunway Medical Centre Velocity, visit www.sunmedvelocity.com.my (Facebook: Sunway Medical Velocity).

About Sunway Medical Centre Velocity 

Sunway Medical Centre Velocity is situated in the township of Sunway Velocity. The hospital offers comprehensive tertiary healthcare services with designed capacity of 237 beds, 62 consultant suites and six operating theatres. Its range of medical services include facilities and advanced medical technologies for outpatient and inpatient specialty care, health and wellness programmes and 24-hour emergency services.

Sunway Medical Centre Velocity is an Award-Winning Hospital, recently recognized at the Globalhealth Asia Pacific Awards 2022 with three awards acknowledging the quality of its healthcare services. Aside from being named Best New Hospital in Asia Pacific, Sunway Medical Centre Velocity was also named O&G Service Provider of the Year and Wellness Service Provider of the Year. 

In 2021, the hospital was recognized by Healthcare Asia Awards for its achievements in its consistency in implementing various health promotion strategies and digitalising healthcare to ensure a better patient journey during the COVID-19 pandemic. The 3 awards won include Health Promotion Initiative of the Year – Malaysia, ICT Initiative of the Year – Malaysia and Smart Hospital Initiative of the Year – Malaysia.

Sunway Medical Centre Velocity is part of Sunway Healthcare Group which comprises of Sunway Medical Centre, Sunway Medical Centre Velocity, Sunway Specialist Centre Damansara and Sunway Medical Centre Singapore. Sunway Healthcare Group is affiliated with the Jeffrey Cheah School of Medicine & Health Sciences, University of Cambridge, Royal Papworth Hospital and Harvard Medical School to further meet the demands of clinical care, education, and research.

For more information on Sunway Medical Centre Velocity, please visit: www.sunmedvelocity.com.my

[1] [1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8766712/

Some signs that a friend or family member may have a mental illness and could need your help are feelings of sadness, anxiety, worry, irritability, sleep problems, no longer have interest in their hobbies and do not seem to enjoy anything anymore. When these feelings get very intense, last for a long period of time, and begin to interfere with work, and relationships, it may be a sign of a mental health problem.

Dr Celine Chan Tze Lin, Consultant Psychiatrist from SMCV

Prostate cancer can be confused with Benign Prostate Hyperplasia (BPH) which is a benign prostate condition affecting most aging man and is far more common than cancer. Testicular cancer, on the other hand may begin as a small lump in the testis and is more easily detected but can be missed unless a man performs regular testis self-examination.

Dato’ Dr Selvalingam Sothilingam, Consultant Urologist

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