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Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer of men in the UK, and during Movember, men across the world grow moustaches to raise awareness and understanding of prostate and testicular cancer and the health risks that men face.
Our resident paramedic, Lynn Sutherland, may not be able to grow a moustache, but she’s still doing her bit to raise awareness of men’s health and cancers during Movember – by shaving her head!
Lynn, who is also involved with our travel clinic and children’s clinic, had her head shaved at Gyle Barbers in Edinburgh.
For Lynn, who has been working in clinical care for almost 20 years, it was important for her to play her part in raising awareness of men’s cancers such as prostate cancer – a disease that kills one man every hour in the UK.
Lynn explains: “I got the idea from a consultant I read about, who shaved his head so he could understand what his cancer patients were going through when they lost their hair.
“He then noticed that people started to look at him differently, seeing him as a sickly individual, and would hold a door open for him or offer him their chair.
“Obviously, I can’t grow a moustache, so I thought the best way to raise awareness of men’s cancers and become an honorary ‘Mo Sista’ was to shave my head.
“The important thing to remember is that I’m choosing to shave my head. The men who go through chemotherapy and radiotherapy don’t get that choice.”
Although Lynn is YourGP’s resident paramedic, she is also responsible for a wide range of clinical services – and sees many young men in the Edinburgh area who are worried about sexual health and other testicular issues.
“A lot of guys come to me because they think they have an STI,” she explains.“So, I ask them: ‘What’s unusual?’ and it becomes clear they don’t know what’s normal for them.
“It’s so important that guys know what’s normal for them. What’s the normal shape? What’s the normal size? Is one testicle a bit bigger than the other?
“They admit they don’t think about it. They think prostate cancer is something that happens to old men.
“But one in eight men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer at one point in their lives, and I don’t want it to become the killer that it could become through ignorance.
One of the main aims of Movember is to encourage men to open up and have conversations around the health risks that they face – and Lynn will be doing all she can to start those conversations.
She says: “It’s so apparent to me that men don’t realise prostate cancer can be cured – if only they open up and talk about it early on.
“There shouldn’t be any stigma around prostate cancer; it’s something that can be spoken about, and speaking up will be able to save your life.
“Prostate cancer doesn’t have to be a killer – but we need to work together to get the message out there.”
If you want to help Lynn get the message out there and raise awareness of prostate cancer and men’s health, you can donate to her Movember page.
Please also remember to share this blog post with your friends, family and colleagues so that we can help spread the message as much as possible.
If you want to find out more about prostate cancer and men’s health, remember to come back for our next blog post, where we’ll explain how you can help prevent prostate cancer and examine the link between prostate cancer and mental health.
I was surprised to meet a GP with such a ready smile and willingness to give me the time I needed. I felt we had a conversation as equals and that she actually heard what I said. A couple of blood tests, a physiotherapy referral and I am better than I have been in a very long time