The test that
makes men squirm
It’s important for men to have regular
health checkups that include a digital
rectal exam (DRE). The female equivalent
is pap smears and mammograms.
But guys who’ve otherwise escaped
any uncomfortable invasive procedures
can be a little squeamish.
The sound of a latex glove being
snapped on can startle even the most
The prostate-specific antigen (PSA)
blood test can indicate the possibility
of prostate cancer. It’s beneficial for
men to discuss these tests with their
physicians because some treatment
for prostate cancer works best when
the cancer is found early.
Research shows most men do not get
The Big C
regular physical exams. “So it’s very
beneficial when they can discuss prostate
health with their physician and have
these tests (PSA, DRE) done routinely,”
says Pam Heard, executive director of
the Prostate Cancer Centre in Calgary.
While the cause of prostate cancer
is unknown, genetics can play a role,
and family history is important. Diet
may also play a part; avoiding or eating
fewer high-fat foods may be beneficial.
Women talk, men balk.
That’s what often happens when
cancer enters people’s lives, even when
it’s only a possibility. Women are likely
to reach out and speak about what’s
going on, while men tend to seek shelter
A woman with a breast lump
will likely see a doctor faster than
a man with prostate issues, says
Dr. Dean Ruether, medical oncologist
and provincial leader of the Alberta
Provincial Genitourinary Tumour Team
for Alberta Health Services, Cancer Care.
In this case, the woman’s proactive
approach can be life-saving.
Men have a reputation for not asking
for directions, but when dealing with
The Big C, they might want to follow
women’s lead. Guys are at high risk for
prostate cancer, which is the third most
common cause of death in men due to
cancer (after lung and colorectal).
Dr. Todd Anderson’s tips for a healthier heart:
1. Eat healthy. The Mediterranean diet allows people to enjoy moderate
amounts of wine (1 to 2 glasses per day), higher amounts of non-refined
cereals, vegetables, fruit and legumes, lower consumption of meat and
moderate consumption of dairy.
2. Exercise. Try 150 minutes of aerobic exercise a week, which can be done
in 10-minute bouts.
3. Manage weight. An optimal BMI (body mass index) of less than 25 is
considered healthy for most people. A BMI over 30 is associated with
certain chronic diseases and joint problems.
4. Assess risk. Discuss heart health with a physician. Blood pressure,
cholesterol and blood sugar levels are important, as are physical activity,
smoking, diet and family history.
the University of Calgary, and the
To the heart
department head of Cardiac Sciences for
Alberta Health Services and the U of C.
In 2008, cardiovascular diseases
accounted for 29 per cent of deaths
in Canada, though the rates of heart
disease (and stroke) have steadily
declined at a rate of 25 per cent over
the past 10 years, according to the
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada.
Generally, heart disease occurs in men
at an earlier age than women, with men
facing a higher risk after the age of 50,
says Anderson. Both men and women
can lower their risk of cardiovascular
disease by making positive lifestyle
His heart is beating faster than usual
and he’s short of breath, signs he may
be falling in love with you, if not for the
first time, then all over again. He wants
you so much his chest hurts.
Then again, these might be flags
for coronary artery disease (CAD), the
most common type of heart disease and
the number one killer of both men and
women. CAD is caused by the hardening
of the arteries: when plaque builds up
it restricts blood supply to the heart.
“Symptoms to look out for include any
change in exercise tolerance, an increase
in shortness of breath, and chest pain,”
says Dr. Todd Anderson, director of
the Libin Cardiovascular Institute at