‘We’re rubbish at it’: Alexander Armstrong urges men to check for signs of deadly disease

GMB: Alexander Armstrong refuses to sing

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The star took part in The Real Full Monty in 2018, where a host of celebrities stripped off to raise awareness for testicular cancer. Talking about the show to Digital Spy, Alexander said: “It really got under people’s skins and we literally saved lives, which is the most moving and wonderful measure of the programme.” As well as taking part in the programme Alexander took to This Morning to be checked over by doctor Chris Steele.

Explaining to Eamonn and Ruth why he wanted to do it, the presenter said: “I want to demonstrate how easy it is because it takes 20 seconds to have this.

“It’s one of the things that surrounds men’s health issues – we’re rubbish at it, we just don’t talk about it.

“You just have to know your body. Get acquainted with it,” he added.

Alexander was joined by Diversity star and professional dancer Ashley Banjo, who himself had a prostate cancer scare that he didn’t even tell his wife about.

According to Prostate Cancer UK, more than 47,500 men are diagnosed with the condition every year and one in eight men will be diagnosed with it at some point in their lifetime.

The prostate is a gland that is usually the size and shape of a walnut. It sits underneath the bladder and surrounds the urethra, which is the tube that carries urine out of the body and its main job is to help make semen – the fluid that carries sperm.

The NHS explains that prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the UK which usually develops over multiple years with no signs.

Symptoms do not usually appear until the prostate is large enough to affect the tube that carries urine from the bladder out of the penis.

When symptoms do appear, individuals may notice the following signs:

  • An increased need to pee
  • Straining while you pee
  • A feeling that your bladder has not fully emptied.

If prostate cancer spreads outside of the prostate to other parts of the body, it can cause a whole host of other symptoms. If you start to experience back pain, erectile difficulty, blood in your urine or unexplained weight loss then it could be a sign of more developed prostate cancer.

When on This Morning, experts revealed the best method for a self-examination. Those at risk of prostate cancer should perform the following:

  • The best time to perform a self-check is after a warm shower or bath when the skin is relaxed.
  • Hold your scrotum in the palms of your hands and use your fingers and thumbs to examine your testicles.
  • Check each testicle individually, and look for any swelling on the skin.
  • Then firmly, but gently roll the testicle between your fingers and thumbs to feel for any irregularities on the surface or texture of the testicle.
  • Become familiar with the epididymis, a soft rope-like structure on the back of your testicle – you shouldn’t mistake this for a lump.
  • Testicles are often a different shape to each other, or one may hang lower, but if one is dramatically different, or changed from your previous check, see a doctor.

For reasons not yet understood, prostate cancer is more common in men of African-Caribbean or African descent, and less common in Asian men. In addition, the risk of cancer increases as men reach the age of 50.

Depending on the stage of the prostate cancer treatment might not be immediately needed. If the cancer is at an early stage and not causing symptoms, your doctor may suggest either “watchful waiting” or “active surveillance”.

If the cancer has developed enough to need treatment, individuals can either have their prostate surgically removed or undergo radiotherapy.

If the cancer spreads to other parts of the body and cannot be cured, treatment is focused on prolonging life and relieving symptoms. All treatment options carry the risk of significant side effects, including erectile dysfunction and urinary symptoms, such as needing to use the toilet more urgently or more often. Due to this, some men choose to delay treatment until there’s a risk the cancer might spread.

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