Showing posts with label Mens Health. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mens Health. Show all posts

June 24, 2020

"Man Up" is Not The Solution for Men with Depression Around The World

Surveys from around the world show that men everywhere find it difficult to open up about mental health, though they are significantly more at risk of attempting suicide than women. In this Special Feature, we look at why this may be and how to address this issue. 
In high-income countries, three times as many men as women die by suicide, according to a World Health Organization (WHO) report from 2018.
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention also cite 2018 data, noting that in that year alone, “Men died by suicide 3.56 [times] more often than women” in the United States.
And Mental Health America, a community-based nonprofit, reference data suggesting that more than 6 million men in the U.S. experience symptoms of depression each year, and more than 3 million experience an anxiety disorder.
Despite these staggering figures, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) report that men are less likely than women to have received formal mental health support in the past year.
Why is this the case? Recent research offers some explanations and proposes ways of remedying the situation. 

In their 2018 report, the WHO emphasize that cultural stigma surrounding mental health is one of the chief obstacles to people admitting that they are struggling and seeking help.
And this stigmatization is particularly pronounced in men.
“Described in various media as a ‘silent epidemic’ and a ‘sleeper issue that has crept into the minds of millions,’ with ‘chilling statistics,’ mental illness among men is a public health concern that begs attention.”
Thus begins a study from The University of British Columbia (UBC), in Vancouver, Canada, published in 2016 in Canadian Family Physician.
Its authors explain that prescriptive, ages-old ideas about gender are likely both part of the cause behind the development of mental health issues in men and the reason why men are put off from seeking professional help.
Another study from Canada — published in Community Mental Health Journal in 2016 — found that, in a national survey of English-speaking Canadians, among 541 respondents with no direct experience of suicidal ideation or depression, more than one-third admitted to holding stigmatizing beliefs about mental health issues in men.
And among this group, male respondents were more likely than females to hold views such as: “I would not vote for a male politician if I knew he had been depressed,” “Men with depression are dangerous,” and “Men with depression could snap out of it if they wanted.”
Among 360 respondents with direct experience of depression or suicidal ideation, more male than female respondents said that they would feel embarrassed about seeking formal treatment for depression.
One contributor who spoke to Medical News Today also pointed out that it is not easy for men to be open with their peers about mental health struggles.
“Talking about mental health isn’t something that tends to come up readily in particular social environments, such as when playing football,” he told us.
“Often, the relationships there are tied into the game and little else away from the pitch, which is a real shame,” he added. 
Men of color and men of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds face additional challenges when it comes to looking after their mental health.
According to Prof. Norman Bruce Anderson, former CEO of the American Psychological Association — in the U.S., Black and Latino men are six times more likely to be murdered than their white peers.
Prof. Anderson also notes that American Indian men are the demographic most likely to attempt suicide and that Black men are most likely to experience incarceration.
According to Dr. Octavio Martinez Jr., executive director of the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health, the effect of these disparities on the mental health of people of color and of diverse ethnic and racial backgrounds is “a double whammy.”
“Add the stigmatization of help-seeking behavior by men of all races to the unique stressors faced by men and boys of color, and it’s no wonder men and boys of color are at higher risk for isolation and mental health problems. These challenges can manifest as substance use or acting out through violence and aggression — which can lead to more stigma and a continuation of the cycle.”
On top of this, the authors of a study published in 2015 in the Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved point out that “Medical experimentation on African Americans during slavery laid a foundation of mistrust toward healthcare providers.”
All of these issues taken together lay a further barrier to people of color seeking and accessing care for mental health when they need it.

Men may have different symptoms

Specialists also point out that men and women can experience different symptoms of the same mental health issues. This, they say, may be partly a “side effect” of divergent views of mental health.
For instance, NIMH specialists explain that “Some men with depression hide their emotions and may seem to be angry, irritable, or aggressive, while many women seem sad or express sadness.”
They also note that some symptoms of depression are physiological, such as a racing heart, digestive issues, or headaches, and men “are more likely to see their doctor about physical symptoms than emotional symptoms,” according to the NIMH.
The organization also note that self-medicating with alcohol and other substances is a common symptom of depression among men and that this can exacerbate mental health problems and increase the risk of developing other health conditions.
So what can mental health professionals and policymakers do to ensure that men feel confident and comfortable seeking support and that they receive the appropriate care? 
Better mental health education
The first step in addressing these issues, researchers argue, is enhancing education about mental health.
In the Canadian Family Physician study, the researchers emphasize the importance of “disrupting how men traditionally think about depression and suicide by breaking down the stigma that surrounds these topics” through nationwide campaigns.
They also explain that it is important to help men change the idea of receiving support from “a mark of weakness” to a necessary step in maintaining one aspect of health that is as important as any other.
Anecdotal evidence supports these suggestions. One MNT respondent, for instance, told us that:
“[One] area I feel needs improvement is education. […] I had spells of bad mental health in my childhood. It wasn’t until my teenage years, when I became aware of my mother’s and grandfather’s history of mental health problems, that I realised what was going on with me. As a child, feeling anxious and/or depressed for no apparent reason was terrifying and only made my symptoms worse.”
“Also, not knowing what was going on made me embarrassed, and I usually wouldn’t tell anyone what was going on with me,” this contributor went on to say.
“I don’t know for sure, but if there had been education about mental health in my childhood, I reckon my symptoms wouldn’t have scared me as much, and I would have been more open about talking about it with my parents, teachers, healthcare professionals, etc.”
Another step in providing better support for men, the UBC researchers say, is “changing the landscape” of care for mental health by offering community-based programs that help counter risk factors for mental health problems, such as a sense of isolation among older people.
But no intervention is complete until it accounts for the groups that face systematic marginalization, such as men of color and those of diverse ethnic and racial backgrounds.
Specialists have found that Black men in the U.S. are more likely to seek support in informal settings, such as places of worship. Based on this, they have suggested “community-based participatory research” as an important first step.
This approach will require researchers to gain trust and seek collaboration from Black Americans in finding out what needs to change to make formal support more accessible.
Dr. Martinez, referring to a report from 2014, also emphasizes the importance of community-based approaches. 

He promotes interventions aimed to encourage men and boys of color and of diverse backgrounds to connect on a personal level. “Stigma fades when men and boys see resilience and mental health self-care modeled by their fathers, brothers, teachers, faith leaders, and friends,” he says.
“Seek ways to demonstrate the connection between individual mental health and popular traditions of mentorship, cultural pride, self-emancipation and community action among men.”

April 1, 2020

Is Worrying About Getting The Coronavirus Make your Hair Gray?

  • Stress can cause hair to gray prematurely by affecting the stem cells that are responsible for regenerating hair pigment.
  • The findings give insights for future research into how stress affects stem cells and tissue regeneration.
Mature man looking in bathroom mirror at the gray hair in his beardThe study yielded insights into why hair turns gray.  Jay Yuno / iStock / Getty Images Plus
Stress can have a variety of negative effects on the body. The idea that acute stress can cause hair to turn gray is a popular belief. But until now, that link wasn’t scientifically proven.
Hair color is determined by cells called melanocytes, which produce the pigment melanin. New melanocytes are made from melanocyte stem cells that live within the hair follicle at the base of the hair strand. As we age, these stem cells gradually disappear. The hair that regrows from hair follicles that have lost melanocyte stem cells has less pigment and appears gray.
Researchers set out to determine if stress could also cause hair to gray, and if so, how. The study was funded in part by NIH’s National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) and other NIH components. The findings appeared in Nature on January 22, 2020.
The research team, led by Dr. Ya-Chieh Hsu of Harvard University, used mice to examine stress and hair graying. The mice were exposed to three types of stress involving mild, short-term pain, psychological stress, and restricted movement. All caused noticeable loss of melanocyte stem cells and hair graying.
Having established a link between stress and graying, the scientists then explored several potential causes. They first tested whether immune attack might be responsible for depleting melanocyte stem cells. But stressing mice with compromised immune systems still led to hair graying. The team then investigated the role of the stress hormone corticosterone, but altering its levels didn’t affect stress-related graying.
The researchers eventually turned to the neurotransmitter noradrenaline, which, along with corticosterone, was elevated in the stressed mice. They found that noradrenaline, also known as norepinephrine, was key to stress-induced hair graying. By injecting noradrenaline under the skin of unstressed mice, the researchers were able to cause melanocyte stem cell loss and hair graying.
Noradrenaline is produced mostly by the adrenal glands. However, mice without adrenal glands still showed stress-related graying. Noradrenaline is also the main neurotransmitter of the sympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for the “fight-or-flight” reaction in response to stress.
The team ultimately discovered that signaling from the sympathetic nervous system plays a critical role in stress-induced graying. Sympathetic nerves extend into each hair follicle and release noradrenaline in response to stress. Normally, the melanocyte stem cells in the follicle are dormant until a new hair is grown. Noradrenaline causes the stem cells to activate.
Using florescent labelling, the researchers observed the stem cells change to melanocytes and migrate away from their reserve in the hair follicle. With no remaining stem cells, no new pigment cells can be made, and any new hair becomes gray, then white. 
“When we started to study this, I expected that stress was bad for the body — but the detrimental impact of stress that we discovered was beyond what I imagined,” Hsu says. “After just a few days, all of the melanocyte stem cells were lost. Once they’re gone, you can’t regenerate pigments anymore. The damage is permanent.”
The authors highlight the need to further study the interactions between the nervous system and stem cells in different tissues and organs. The knowledge gained in this work will be useful in future investigations into the impact of stress on the body and the development of new interventions.
—by Erin Bryant

January 29, 2020

Gay Body Shaming Pressure is Led to Severe Heart Failure in Some


 "You're too ugly to be gay," a man in a Huddersfield gay bar told Jakeb Arturio Bradea.

It was the latest in a series of comments from men that Jakeb says made him feel worthless. Last summer, following the comments, he tried to kill himself.
Manchester-based charity the LGBT Foundation has warned that body image issues are becoming more widespread in gay communities. It says gay and bisexual men are "much more likely" than heterosexual men to struggle with them. 
A number of gay men have told the BBC they are going to extreme lengths to change their bodies - including using steroids and having plastic surgery - just to become "accepted" by others in the LGBT community.
Several said pressure from social media platforms and dating apps was exacerbating their body issues.
"Guys with stunning bodies get the comments and the attention," says Jakeb. "I've not gone on dates because I'm scared of people seeing me in real life. I would honestly have plastic surgery if I could afford it."
Instead of surgery, a few years ago Jakeb turned to anabolic steroids - class C drugs that can be misused to increase muscle mass.
"I got to a certain weight from just working out and going to the gym, but I couldn't get any bigger, and I got into my head that I needed to be bigger," he says.
"My friend said he knew a steroid dealer, so I thought maybe I'll just do a low dose to see what happens."
But anabolic steroids can be addictive. Jakeb soon found himself unable to stop.
"I got to the size I wanted to be, but it didn't feel good enough," he says. "I kept wanting more. It was like there was a harsh voice telling me I'm skinny."
Jakeb had his second near-death experience in November last year when - after several years of heavy steroid use - he suffered heart failure.
"I couldn't breathe, I couldn't sleep, I was days away from dying," he says. "The cardiologist said if I had done one more injection or gone to the gym a few more times I would have dropped dead."
Months later, Jakeb has stopped taking steroids and has lost the extra muscle he gained, but he continues to have health problems for which he is receiving hospital support. "It just hasn't been worth it at all," he says.
And Jakeb is not alone in taking drastic measures to try to appeal to men.
James Brumpton - a software engineer from Lincoln - found himself "catapulted into this world of self-consciousness", after he hooked up with a man at a local gay bar.
When James went back to the man's house and took off his T-shirt, his date looked at him and made a disgusted noise. "Nice arms though," the man added.

James Brumpton
Image captionOther men have shamed James about his body many times, he says

Eventually, the experience led to James deciding to have an abdominoplasty - otherwise known as a tummy tuck.
"I allowed another man to influence me to a point where I literally had part of me removed," he says.
According to the most recent figures released by the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (Baaps), 179 abdominoplasties were performed on men in 2018 - up 18% on the previous year.
Prof Afshin Mosahebi, of Baaps, says gay men are currently having more cosmetic procedures done than straight men, although he notes that women have more procedures than men overall. 
The surgeon believes the pressure of social media is pushing people to go under the knife.
"Some patients don't need surgery, they need psychological help, and even the patients that do need surgery need to be appropriately informed of all the potential risks," he says.

James Brumpton's abdomenImage copyrightJAMES BRUMPTON
Image captionJames's abdomen after having a tummy tuck

After James's tummy tuck went wrong, he was left with permanent scarring, which made him even more conscious of his body.
"I've been shamed many times since then," says James. "A guy I was dating once said that I needed to go and find jeans in the maternity section because I have wide hips."
Dating apps have fuelled body image concerns, he says. "People having in their profiles 'no fats', or that they're only into masculine and muscular guys, so they don't want anyone that's super skinny," he says.
Images on social media and in leading gay magazines have also led James to feel he is an "invader in the space".
"The idea in your head is that to be a gay man, is to look like a Calvin Klein model," he says.
Photos of "sexy bodies" drive sales of gay magazines, according to Matthew Todd, a former editor of one such publication, Attitude.
"It was tension the whole time and I continually tried to put people on the cover that weren't like that: the first trans man, the first trans woman, the first lesbian," says Matthew.
"I kept doing those kinds of things, but they didn't sell well."
When Matthew put a photo of Stephen Fry on the front of the magazine in 2010, "it was one of the worst-selling editions ever", he says.
"That's not a reflection on Stephen Fry, because he's incredibly popular," he says. "I think it says more about what readers are coming to gay publications for."

Low self-esteem

Matthew, the author of Straight Jacket: How to be gay and happy, says homophobia has fuelled gay men's body issues.
"It's really important to remember that there is unprecedented pressure on everybody to present themselves in a visual way," he says.
"But I think you can't take out of this discussion the fact that LGBT people grow up, shamed, not able to be themselves.
"And I think for lots of people, that's a massive trauma that manifests as low self-esteem. If you don't like yourself, that manifests as not being happy with the way you look."
The result has been that gay men are under more pressure than straight men to have the perfect body, Matthew says.
"If you go on to some gay dating apps, you would think that the vast majority of gay men are supermodels," he continues.
"If you're a gay man, the act of finding another man attractive is also making a judgment of yourself. Many gay men confuse 'Do I want to be with him?' with 'Do I want to be him?'"
Jeff Ingold, from LGBT charity Stonewall, says it is "crucial" that we see more diverse representations of gay and bisexual men with different body types in the media.
"Not only would this help gay and bi men see themselves reflected in what they watch, it would also help break down harmful stereotypes that affect gay and bi men's body image and self-esteem."
But as it is, Jakeb says he still gets people online telling him they "wouldn't leave the house if they looked like me".
"I didn't go on pride marches and have bricks thrown at me to have the community we've got now," he says.
"We have equality, but we're horrible to each other."

April 7, 2019

Adult Circumcision Will Affect The Jobs That Body Member Has Been Assigned to Do~`For Better or Worse

Two patients reveal what it was really like. 
By Colleen de Bellefonds
Men's Health

Ever wondered if sex feels better for men who have their foreskin than those who don’t? If you were circumcised at birth, it's impossible to tell how the procedure shaped your sex life-you don't know your penis any other way. But the sexual experiences of men who were circumcised as adults could shed light on the ongoing debate around circumcision.
The heated debate around whether or not circumcision is necessary hinges on two arguments. There’s the case for health, which says that circumcision appears to slightly reduce the very low risk of penile cancer, as well as HIV and sexually transmitted infections. (Ultimately, the American Academy of Pediatrics says these health benefits outweigh the risks, but they’re not great enough to recommend circumcision for all baby boys.)

Then there’s the case for sexual pleasure, which says that removing the foreskin might compromise penile function and sensation. Pro-circumcision groups also argue that the surgery is painful and risky, and boys should be able to make their own choice later in life.
But how does circumcision really affect your sex life? 
Circumcision and Sexual Sensation
The foreskin has the most nerve endings of any part of the penis, says Amin Herati, M.D., a urologist at Johns Hopkins Medicine who specializes in adult circumcision. And the skin on the head of the penis does become thicker after circumcision due to increased friction. That’s made some men concerned that the procedure might decrease sensitivity and pleasure in their penis. 
Extensive studies, however, have found that circumcision has no effect on the sensation or function of the penis, says Herati. He notes that research has shown circumcision can’t fix premature ejaculation by making men’s hypersensitive penises less sensitive. "The larger nerve fibers responsible for sexual function are at a deeper level" than the skin that’s cut during circumcision, he says. 
To date, Herati says no patient has ever told him that circumcision affected his sex life. Men who’ve had the procedure later in life agree. 
James* chose to get circumcised last fall at the age of 28 because his frenulum(the skin connecting the foreskin to the penis) was sometimes sore after sex. He was awake during the procedure, which he had at The Urology Place
“I have had migraines that hurt worse,” says James, who took over-the-counter meds to relieve the pain. Within two weeks, he was healed and ready for sex. Neither James nor his wife noticed any differences in their sex life after the procedure. He says his circumcised penis feels more sensitive. “Now there’s more feeling of the vagina during intercourse, instead of the foreskin sliding back and forth over the head,” says James.
For some men, circumcision actually reduces pain and increases pleasure during sex. Sam*, a patient of Herati’s, had a condition known as phimosis, where tight foreskin can’t retract over the penis. In the two years before the surgery, sex was increasingly painful. 
"The breaking point was when I felt deterred from having sex," says Sam. Last summer, in his late 30s, Sam was circumcised; like James, he was awake during the procedure. Post-surgery swelling lasted about eight weeks, and there was discomfort as he got used to the head of his penis being exposed to clothes. “It was surreal, to some degree, because I was an adult male getting used to having a 'new' penis," he says.
After circumcision, Sam says sex was pleasurable again. “I was surprised and heartened by the genuine support I received from women who knew I had the procedure," he says. "I had the feeling they couldn't wait to be the first to ‘try it.’… Sex has been wonderful, both in terms of sensation and not worrying in the back of my mind that I could experience pain or discomfort." 
“I do miss having an uncircumcised penis, because it was more unusual and unique in a way," he adds. "But I'd give up novelty for function.” 
How Adult circumcision is done
If you’re among the roughly 40 percent of American men who aren’t circumcised at birth, you might have considered making the cut. According to Herati, most men who are over 50 get circumcised mostly to fix a condition called balanitis, or inflammation of the head of the penis that scars foreskin so it can’t retract. Younger men most often come because they’re self-conscious about having a foreskin. “They think looking more ‘normal’ with a circumcised penis would give them more self-confidence,” says Herati.
As an adult, you can choose to either be awake with local anesthesia in the clinic, which takes about 45 minutes to an hour, or you can go under with general anesthesia, which takes 30 to 45 minutes. A doctor makes two incisions, one above and one below the foreskin. Once the skin is removed, the two sides are sewn back together. “The foreskin does have the most nerve sensation of all the penis, but when we block that with lidocaine men are very comfortable,” says Herati. You’ll likely be sore for four to five days and shouldn’t have sex for about a month. “Then it’s business back to usual,” says Herati.
Complications of adult circumcision
Complications (usually pain, minor bleeding, or infection) happen in just 1 to 2 percent of all circumcisions, says Herati, although risk is slightly higher in adults than newborns, according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Very rarely, too much or too little foreskin is removed, or the remaining foreskin attaches to the tip of the penis. Surgery can address these problems. 
*Names have been changed to allow subjects to speak freely on private matters.

November 2, 2018

Prostate Cancer Is The Most Prevalent,Invasive Among Men and For Gay Men is Even Worse


By Dan Avery
Prostate cancer is the most prevalent invasive cancer among men, affecting nearly one in eight at some point in their lives, according to the Centers for Disease Control. But the unique challenges facing gay and bisexual men with prostate cancer have largely gone unaddressed.
Men who have sex with men (MSM) are less likely to get regular prostate cancer screenings, and those who are diagnosed are less likely to have familial and social support, according to research cited by the National Institutes of Health. And if their health care provider is not culturally competent, gay and bisexual men are much less likely to understand how treatment will impact their quality of life. 
“Many LGBT people enter their cancer treatment wary,” Liz Margolies of the National LGBT Cancer Network told NBC News. “Those in large metropolitan areas may have the option of searching for an LGBT-welcoming provider, but most Americans don’t have a choice about who treats them.”
As a result, Margolies added, many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender patients go back in the closet when they begin cancer treatment. Even if they don’t, providers often don’t ask about patients' sexual behavior or identity, forcing them to bring the subject up themselves — sometimes again and again with each new specialist.


Writer Perry Brass was diagnosed with prostate cancer in March 2016. Three months later he had a radical prostatectomy, removing his entire prostate. Brass, then 68, was lucky: He lives in New York City, home to top-notch doctors and a medical community more informed about LGBTQ health. “I’ve been a gay activist — and been out — so long that I took it for granted I could talk openly to my doctors,” he told NBC News. But even he was unprepared for the side effects.
"Your sex drive can take a nosedive," Brass said, adding that prostate cancer can also lead to erectile dysfunction. "You’re experiencing ED, but that doesn’t mean you’re not experiencing sexual attraction," he said.
About 20 percent of patients treated with radiation experience irradiated bowels, which can make receptive anal sex painful or even impossible. Treatment can also affect penis size, ability to ejaculate, experience of orgasm and urinary continence during sex. Brass’ said his sexual function was relatively good, but instead he struggled with incontinence for weeks — using as many as nine “pads” a day and staying within yards of a bathroom at all times.  
He joined a prostate cancer support group specifically for gay and bisexual men at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan, one of several organized by the national advocacy organization MaleCare.
Being with other queer men “allowed us to be very open about our feelings — and our sexuality — and to be empathetic with each other,” Brass said. “Too often gay men are erased in these [support] groups. They don’t want to hear other men be vulnerable, and they don’t want to hear about gay sex.”
That’s true in the doctor’s office, too, Brass added.
“If you’re gay and you go to a urologist who hasn’t dealt with gay men, they’ll tell you, ‘Bring your wife with you,’" he said. "If you bring another man, they don’t know what to do. They can’t even breathe the words ‘anal sex.’ Talking to a man about it is just impossible.”
That discomfort can spread to gay patients. “To go into a urologist office, you walk in with all this shame and inhibition,” Brass lamented.


It’s impossible to know how many gay men have been diagnosed prostate cancer, because questions about sexuality are rarely included in research studies. “The medical community say, ‘We don’t want to ask older heterosexual men questions that might upset them,’" Simon Rosser, an LGBTQ health specialist and co-author of "Gay and Bisexual Men Living With Prostate Cancer," told NBC News.
Simon Rosser
Simon Rosser, PhD, MPH, is a professor at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. University of Minnesota

A professor at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, Rosser has received a $3 million grant from the National Cancer Institute to put together the first comprehensive rehabilitation program specifically for gay and bisexual men with prostate cancer. But he’s not just a researcher — he’s a survivor himself, diagnosed last year at age 59. And he’s keenly aware of how little information is available for men like him.
“When my husband was diagnosed and had a radical prostatectomy, we reached out for help," Rosser said. "We were amazed to see how little was out there. I realized there were no studies, no research. It was a neglected area.”
But it wasn’t institutionalized homophobia, Rosser stressed. “Our efforts were focused on battling HIV, keeping young men alive. Frankly the older guys were secondary.”
When it comes to cancer, urologists and oncologists — even wives — are laser-focused on survival, according to Rosser. But he said when it comes to male patients, "studies show again and again that quality of life is equally important." And, he added, "a big part of quality of life is urinary continence and sexual function.” Doctors may also make a number of assumptions about patients, including about their family support system, their sexual orientation and their sexual interests.
“Your doctor might tell you you’ll have an erection strong enough for intercourse, but anal penetration requires 33 percent more rigidity,” Rosser said. He’s heard men say their doctors “neutered” them. Others have said they’d rather be dead. In all, 15 percent of all men who’ve had a radical prostatectomy exhibit some kind of “treatment regret.” For gay men, so long ignored by medicine, Rosser believes those rates are much higher.
“[A heterosexual man] with a postmenopausal wife who doesn’t want sex anyway might just accept having a low libido,” he explained. “But if your partner is another man, and his drive isn’t diminished, it can be a real problem.”
Rosser said the silence and shame surrounding the topic allows ugly myths to flourish — like that gay sex somehow “caused” their cancer. “Guys can feel guilty,” Rosser said. “Or, their partners may think on some level, they can ‘catch’ it.”
He had some of those thoughts himself: “I’m a cyclist — did being in the saddle too much cause it? Did enjoying receptive anal sex?”
Without good data, researchers can’t get to the truth, Rosser stressed.


The first step is raising awareness: Launching in January, Rosser’s groundbreaking program is bringing together a multidisciplinary team of top urologists, medical doctors, clinicians and sex therapists working with 450 candidates flagged by MaleCare.
“It’s an opportunity for all of us to do better,” he said. “Gay men have a lot to offer the subject of prostate cancer. And we have studies that show outcomes are different for gay men: We have worse mental health, we have greater urinary problems, but our sexual outcomes are reliably better.”  
This spring, after his prostate specific antigens (PSA) started rising, Perry Brass underwent radiation treatment. The testosterone-killing hormones he had to take led to a kind of “male menopause.” But he’s in remission, something he credits to both his medical team and his husband, Hugh.
The survival rate for early-stage prostate cancer is 99 percent. Getting the disease, ironically, is something of a luxury for a gay men of Brass’ age: Too many had their lives cut short by the AIDS epidemic long before they’d typically be diagnosed (the average age for a prostate cancer diagnosis is 66).
After the advent of lifesaving antiretroviral drugs in the mid-1990s, though, gay men are finally reaching their golden years.
“I am grateful that I’m alive when so many of my friends aren’t,” Brass said. “It actually got me through the diagnosis. Knowing that a third of my friends died from AIDS, I felt like I owed it to them to do everything I could to stay alive.”
It stole a generation, but the AIDS epidemic also taught gay men how to fight disease, how to ask questions and how to demand better treatment.
“I think there’s a lot we can teach in fighting prostate cancer,” Rosser said. “About expanding your idea of sex and sexuality, about maintaining a fit lifestyle as you get older. And, I think, as gay men, we bring a deep feeling of compassion, empathy and humor. We can laugh at it sometimes — and I do.”

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