Derbyshire medic says there is more to Valentine’s than a man’s heart

Doctor Marco La Malfa says Valentine's Day is an opportunity to show care for men's health.
Doctor Marco La Malfa says Valentine's Day is an opportunity to show care for men's health.

A Derbyshire medic is advising men’s partners to think about more than hearts this Valentine’s Day, as cases of prostate cancer over take those of breast cancer.

Marco La Malfa, medical director at Barlborough NHS Treatment Centre, is urging anyone with a male partner to take a few minutes on Wednesday, February 14, to think about their partner’s health, as it might just save their lives.

He said: “Men’s health risks such as prostate, testicular and colorectal cancer have excellent success rates if treated early.

“The issue can be that men sometimes delay taking action, hoping the symptoms will go away. That is why it is important that we keep an eye on the men in our lives.”

Marco says there are four key questions to ask yourself in monitoring a loved one’s health.

First, have you noticed your partner making frequent visits to the toilet at night?

Prostate cancer presents itself as an obstruction and therefore the bladder is not completely emptied, resulting in the need to go sooner. Equally a change in bowel habits can be a sign of bowel cancer.

Second, are you finding urine marks around the toilet rim?

Think about what happens to the stream from a garden hose when we disturb the flow with our thumb - the stream becomes a spray. This is the same with urine flow, as an enlarged prostate can create the same interference.

Third, have you noticed their belts are tighter and their clothes are looser?

Unexpected weight loss, rather than any due to diet and exercise, can be a symptom of several ailments including cancer. Linked with this can be a decrease in appetite and lack of enjoyment of food in general. It is often the loved ones who notice these signs.

Fourth, do they seem to have a shortness of breath after carrying out normal activities?

This may be due to a lack of fitness but it could also be an indicator of respiratory issues such as asthma or lung cancer, the leading cause of cancer deaths in men.

A persistent cough that will not go away may be accompanied by coughing up blood, so keep an eye on handkerchiefs or discarded tissues if you are concerned. A lack of energy or aches and pains when breathing would also need investigation.

Marco said: “If you ask yourself these questions, and are concerned your partner is showing any of the symptoms, sit down with them and share your concerns.

“It may be that they are relieved at the chance to talk. If they do not open up, don’t push it but reassure them that you are there for them and that getting treatment is not only important for them but for their family too.”

He added: “Reassure them that there is no embarrassment in seeing a healthcare professional – whatever the condition.

“I have been a doctor for many years and I can give every assurance that, no matter how personal your problem feels, you will be treated with care, empathy and discretion by our colleagues in every branch of the NHS.”