This Father's Day, dads are being encouraged to give something back to their sons – by having a conversation about men's health, and the risks of a cancer diagnosis.
Leading independent cancer care provider, GenesisCare, has shared some top tips for dads to approach the sensitive subject with their sons – including being empathetic and understanding, and encouraging any questions they may have.
It comes as research from the medical service polled 2,009 dads over the age of 33, with sons aged 18 and over – and found that almost half shy away from such discussions with their offspring.
One in five claim this is because they don't want to scare them, or cause distress (16%) – but 17% admit they simply find the topic awkward or uncomfortable.
But with a 50/50 chance of UK men having cancer in their lifetime, and between 3-10% of these cases caused by an inherited faulty gene, GenesisCare says it is time for men to break the taboo with their family.
Another top tip to open up the dialogue is to choose the right moment, and a comfortable setting to openly chat – something that 17% of dads say they struggle with.
A further one in three admit they wouldn't know how to start a sensitive health conversation with their sons – while 20% feel they don't have enough knowledge to do so.
However, nearly nine in ten (87%) say it is important that their sons know they can approach them at any time to talk about men's health issues, such as cancer.
Dr Prantik Das, clinical oncologist at GenesisCare, which commissioned the research, said: “Health issues can be a taboo, especially with men, as our “Break the Silence” research shows.
“Cancer can be difficult to discuss, and many men fear the impact a cancer diagnosis may have on their lives and the lives of their loved ones.
“This Father’s Day, we want dads to take the time to have a conversation with their sons about any risks – particularly those that may be hereditary.
“By fostering open dialogue, encouraging early detection, and highlighting the available innovative treatment options, we hope to improve outcomes, and help more men live healthy, fulfilling lives.”
It also emerged that more than one in six (18%) dads find it uncomfortable to discuss checking for men’s cancer with their sons regularly.
A third of men delay seeking help for prostate cancer – as they fear terminal diagnosis
However, 86% agree it's important for their sons to know if they have an increased risk of hereditary cancer, to ensure they are aware of the development of any signs and symptoms.
Of those surveyed, seven in ten (69%) would consider genetic testing if a family member was diagnosed with cancer.
More than three-quarters (79%) would like to learn more about the signs and symptoms of men’s cancer, to provide more guidance to their sons during conversations.
And 69% want to better understand the latest cancer treatment options available.
Four in five (82%) agree that the knowledge would make them feel more equipped with a self-diagnosis or a family diagnosis.
Geoff Seymour, a 65-year-old dad of two sons, was successfully treated using MRIdian MR Linac in just five days.
In less than a week, he returned to his normal life – showing the value of early diagnosis and treatment.
Since Geoff’s father died as a result of prostate cancer, he had been getting his GP to monitor his Prostate Specific Antigen levels regularly.
The minute a change was detected, they booked him in for treatment – and this awareness and quick response were key in his recovery.
Geoff said: “It shouldn’t take a life-changing disease to encourage men to have a life-saving conversation.
“Having witnessed my father’s radiotherapy experience, I wasn’t keen on the route. Given these fears, Dr Prantik Das told me about a ground-breaking radiotherapy treatment available through GenesisCare, using MRIdian technology.
“Over just five consecutive days, I was fully treated with only 40 minutes of radiotherapy each day.
“The death of my father encouraged me to consider my own genetic health risks and, in turn, that of my sons, who are 36 and 40 now.
“It wasn’t something I had ever discussed with them – but knowing that it could save their lives, you bet I found a way to bring it up.
“It was awkward at first, but now we check in every now and then pretty easily. I would encourage all men to get over their fears, take the time out, and just ask the question.”
Recognising that not everyone finds it easy to initiate conversations around men’s health, the independent cancer provider offers advice on where to start.
GenesisCare offers a range of innovative cancer treatments, including precision MRI-guided radiotherapy, and Theranostics.
For more information on the signs and symptoms of cancer, and innovative cancer treatments available, please visit here.
GENESISCARE’S CONVERSATION STARTING POINTS:
- Start with empathy: Approach the conversation with genuine care and understanding, emphasising that you want to support your son's overall well-being.
- Choose the right moment: Find a comfortable and relaxed setting where both you and your son can talk openly without distractions.
- Encourage questions: Create a safe space for your son to ask any questions he may have. Assure him that no question is off-limits or embarrassing.
- Connect the family dots: Foster open dialogue, explore your hereditary medical history, and acknowledge any potential risks, as this will help you determine the most effective approach.
- Use relatable examples: Share stories or examples from individuals who have overcome health challenges, and discuss well-man check-ups to emphasise the importance of early detection and prevention.
- Provide reliable resources: Equip your son with trusted sources of information, such as educational websites or reputable organisations, to encourage further exploration and understanding.
Source: Read Full Article