How to survive a hangover in different countries

If you enjoy traveling and drinking, you probably have suffered – or will at some point suffer – a debilitating hangover in a foreign country. Hangovers do not discriminate on the basis of race or creed: it matters not whether you are drinking Napa Valley merlot, delicious Belgian microbrews or Vietnamese rice wine (although the latter will almost certainly give you the worst headache). Hangovers are all the more painful for being completely self-inflicted.

While throbbing headaches and delicate stomachs are universal, the ways in which different cultures talk about hangovers and try to fix them varies considerably. Bearing in mind comedian Robert Benchley’s sage advice – that the only cure for a real hangover is death – experts at language learning app Babbel, put together a short guide to help you express your pain, and do something about it regardless of where you are.


What to say

Ich habe einen Kater. The Germans get a Kater (tomcat) after a big night. The expression probably came from Katarrh, a flu-like symptom. Katzenjammer, roughly “caterwauling”, is fun, but rarely used.

What to do

You’ll certainly need a Katerfrühstück (hangover breakfast) to deal with the pain. It might well include Rollmops, pickled herrings with gherkin and onions. Electrolytes are very important. If you subscribe to the “hair of the dog” theory, then try a Konterbier (counter-beer).


What to say

Tá póitín orm” is modern Irish for talking about your hangover (literally “there is a small drinking-bout on me”), which shouldn’t (or maybe should) be confused with poitín, an Irish beverage that was most likely responsible for your discomfort in the first place. “Brown bottle flu”, “in Lego™” (i.e. in bits) and “an inexplicable headache” (no one does irony quite like the Irish) are also good. You can even refer to it as “Irish flu”, but perhaps it’s best not to do that in Ireland. Unless you’re Irish.

What to do

You can follow the Irish proverb, “leigheas na póite a hól arís” (“the cure for a hangover is to drink again”), but, if you’re not a “hair of the dog” type, a full Irish breakfast is the way to go. Bacon, sausages, black and white pudding, mushrooms, fried tomato, fried eggs, baked beans and of course soda bread. You can combine it with a quick dip in the Atlantic to really kick-start that heart attack.


What to say

У меня похмелье (U menya pokhmel’e): a Russian hangover, pokhmel’e, is literally “after being drunk”. Mind you, many Russians claim that if you drink vodka the right way – neat – you won’t get a hangover. Сушняк (Sooshnyak) is that feeling when your mouth’s as dry as a desert.

What to do

This requires some preparation. Get dried black or rye bread and soak it in sugar and yeast until it forms a mildly alcoholic beverage called kvas. Drink and/or throw up and enjoy! If that doesn’t do the trick, try mixing brine and tomato juice, or simply head to the sauna for a bout of self-flagellation with birch branches.


What to say

J’ai la gueule de bois – “I’ve got a wooden gob (mouth)”. Typically happens when you “drink like a hole”, boire comme un trou. If you ever find yourself in this situation, tell your tormentor j’ai les dents du fond qui baignent – literally “my back teeth are soaking”, also used when you’ve had too much food – and they may take pity on you.

What to do

Cassoulet or onion soup are recommended. Having French friends (who are not hungover) willing to cook these delicacies for you is a plus.


What to say

Ho i postumi della sbornia. A hangover is postumi della sbornia, “the after-death of drunkenness”. Not that you’ll ever hear an Italian say this—not that Italians get drunk, mind you (or at least they never appear to be drunk).

What to do

Get a double espresso into you and hit the road.


What to say

Estoy crudo… Did you wake up feeling a bit cruda, (“raw”), this morning? Other Central American countries use goma (“rubber”), and if you head south to Colombia you can describe your hangover as “having a guava tree”, tengo guayabo.

What to do

Give your stomach a bit of a challenge with a Mexican shrimp and shellfish salad. A combination of lime, onions and cilantro, vuelva a la vida, will indeed bring you back to life.


What to say

二日酔いしてる!(Futsuka-yoi shiteru!). The Japanese consider a hangover to be futsuka-yoi, “two-days drunk”. If sake and karaoke were involved, you may require additional Japanese drinking phrases.

What to do

You will be advised to eat umeboshi. These are salty pickled plums, so extreme that they are sometimes soaked in green tea. An energy drink (or three) – good for rehydration – and miso soup might also be on the menu.



The Babbel app for web, iOS and Android makes it easy to learn 14 different languages from 7 display languages. Bite-sized lessons fit into everyday life and are split into useful real-world topics, from introducing oneself, to ordering food and making travel arrangements. The app’s effective game mechanics ensure that learners stay motivated to achieve their goals, with the average user continuing to learn with Babbel for more than 12 months. Uniquely, every course is created specifically for each language pair by a team of education experts, linguists and language teachers.

Read More

Education Health

How universities can do more for students with food allergies

For many youngsters, studying at university is the time of their lives – independence, new friends and learning about something they are passionate about. But for students who suffer from food allergies, this can be their most vulnerable time.

For an awful lot of students, it’s their first time away from home – which means that someone else needs to step in to take that ‘parental’ role seriously. Leaving home for the first time is life-changing for any young person but for those suffering from food allergies it can be a very dangerous time because they are having to manage their allergies for themselves. Prior to this moment, their parents probably cooked for them and did the food shopping, checking labels to ensure things are free from specific allergens.

Peer pressure also has an influence as some allergy sufferers don’t want to feel different and may not take life-saving medication out with them. It’s a significant problem at this stage in young lives, and it’s not looking like it’s going to improve any time soon:

  • Teenagers and young adults are most at risk of severe reactions
  • 50% of children and young people have one or more allergy within the first 18 years of life
  • Each year the number of allergy sufferers increases by 5% half of all affected are children and young people
  • In the last decade, the cases of food allergies have doubled and the number of hospitalisations caused by severe allergic reactions has increased seven-fold

But there’s a number of things that universities and colleges can do (and that parents can be vigilant about):

  • Make sure they have allergen accreditation. It’s a key part of the process of educating your organisation.
  • Have a stand at Freshers Week to talk about food allergen awareness
  • Meet with residential advisors on campus to identify students with food allergies
  • Produce a daily allergen chart for all the dishes being served
  • Hold a briefing before service to educate the counter staff
  • Colour code utensils and allergen-free dishes (I use the colour purple)
  • Publish an online menu cycle
  • Salad bars can be an area of cross-contamination so offer bespoke salad bowls for people with food allergies  
  • Train all staff in the use of epipens
  • Ensure that full nutritional and allergen information is available
  • If the recipe of a dish changes, ensure customers are informed

Get those steps right and the institution will be well on the way to make food safe for students. So that they can get on with enjoying themselves. And studying, of course.


Jacqui McPeake is founder of JACS Allergen Management, giving advice and consultancy on food allergen and intolerance management in the catering industry.


Read More


5 Mental and Physical Benefits of Plogging

From the makers of ‘hygge’ and ‘lagom’, a new trend from Scandinavia has arrived, and it is called ‘plogging’ (from ‘jogging’ and ‘pick up’, or ‘pluck’). This new fitness trend involves picking up litter while running – effectively jogging with squats. With concern escalating over the looming environmental crisis of plastic waste, and obesity continuing to be a growing threat to public health, the plogging trend is undeniably timely.

We at the global health app, Lifesum, became the first health platform to allow its users to log and track plogging, while also promoting the initiative through a partnership with Keep America Beautiful and encouraging users to #plogging on social media as they exercise and to get the full benefits, such as:

Stress relief

Plogging is a high-intensity activity, making it a great stress reliever. When you go for a run your heart rate accelerates and, as a result, your body releases chemical endorphins that elevate your mood. As well as releasing these feel-good endorphins, running is a form of exercise that requires less active thinking, allowing your mind to switch off and helps to let go of the troublesome thoughts that may be weighing it down.

Interval training

Similar to interval training, ‘plogging’ combines a quick running step for short periods with focused lunges and squats. Interval training boosts endurance and burns more calories during and after a workout than normal running, improving fitness and fat burning for best results.

Anti – winter blues

In the darker winter months, we tend to not get enough vitamin D due to the shorter daylight hours, which is why bringing your exercise outside instead of a gym is great for getting both fresh air and some vitamin D (provided it’s not pouring rain). Going outside can also bring you closer to living a friluftsliv lifestyle – a mantra of connecting to nature which is partially responsible for making Swedes as content and healthy as they are.  

But these aren;’t just my tips. David Brudö, CEO and co-founder of mental wellbeing app, Remente, has other ideas on how ‘plogging’ benefits your mind and happiness:

Grows confidence and self-esteem

Part of the reason behind self-consciousness is a lack of control, so combining rubbish picking with running can offer a sense of control over your commute, neighbourhood, and life, which in turn builds your confidence. Regardless of weight, size or gender, exercise can quickly offer evidence of resilience and determination, not to mention weight loss, developing confidence in attractiveness and boosts feelings of self-esteem and worth.

Supports happiness and anti-depression

A big part of anxiety is being overwhelmed by too many thoughts, and if these thoughts are negative, the anxiety can switch over to a state of depression. Focusing your mind on finding, and picking up, rubbish on your run can help get your thoughts in order and deal with any negativity quickly and efficiently.

Running and helping others, the community, and environment also produces endorphins, which is the body’s natural anti-depressant. These endorphins are hormones that block pain and encourage feelings of euphoria. In other words, these hormones can make you feel more energetic, alert and happier.


Frida Harju-Westman is the in-house nutritionist for Lifesum, a Stockholm-based digital health company with over 25 million users. Using tech and psychology, it creates a tailored plan to help people live happier, more balanced lives. Whether the goal is to lose weight, build muscle, or just live a healthier life, Lifesum shows how changing small, everyday habits can transform your life. The app is available on iOS and Android.

Remente  is a free-to- use personal development platform for individuals and businesses. The app combines psychology with brain and mental training to help users reach their full potential, complete personal and professional goals, and lead a healthier lifestyle. Users can track their mood through the app, as well as undertake courses on stress management, goal setting, memory, and many others. Available to download on iOS and Android.


Health, Lifestyle, Diet, Health and Fitness Trend Predictions for 2018

Read More

Health Work

Learning to look up again – controlling your smartphone addiction

Why do our mobile virtual homes take precedence over our real physical homes? Does our obsessive behaviour make us less interactive and engaging with real people? Are we becoming less human and morphing into ‘smombies’ (smartphone zombies)? And if so, what can we do about it to break our habits, change our behaviour and instead of spending our time looking down bathed in the reflective glare of our 5 inch screens learn to look up again?

Ross Sleight has been involved in digital media for over 20 years. He’s founded four award-winning digital agencies, was a founder of Virgin Games and today is the Chief Strategy Officer for Somo – an accelerator that delivers rapid, actionable innovation for its global clients. Here he explores both the personal and social impact of our addictive smartphone use.

Can you really ban smartphones from schools (and is it a good idea anyway) ?

Read More


Everything you should know for World Cancer Day

It is estimated that 1 in 2 people will get some form of cancer during their lifetime, which means that all of us are likely to, in some way, be affected by the disease. Thankfully, breakthroughs in medicine are happening everyday, improving survival rates across the world. These, from medical travel specialists Medigo, are the key things you should bear in mind:

Minimising risks

Everyday, doctors and scientists around the world are discovering more about the human body and the diseases that affect it. For example, we now know that there are certain lifestyle choices that can increase our risks of developing cancer. While genes also play a significant role, not smoking, leading an active lifestyle and eating a well-balanced diet have all been found to decrease our risks of developing the disease.

Improvements in survival rates

Cancer survival rates have been improving steadily for about thirty years, albeit unevenly among different forms of cancer. In the UK, for example, cancer survival rates have doubled since the 70s, largely because of wider access to screening tests, new treatments, and better awareness of a range of health risks such as smoking and obesity.

Some examples of screening tests include widespread breast screening for women, catching breast cancer in its early stages. Cancer Research UK states that 78% of those who experience breast cancer survive for 10 or more years after treatment, and the overall survival rates for the disease has doubled in the past forty years. Colonoscopies have a dual-benefit of also identifying early-stage colorectal cancer and even avoiding cancer altogether by identifying pre-cancerous growths called polyps.

Preventive measures include the HPV vaccine, which has been revolutionary for cervical cancer, and even proper food preparation, which has been shown to remove bacteria that can increase the likelihood of stomach cancer.

Treatment methods available

There are over 200 forms of cancer, and each patient has different circumstances, so treatments methods are always tailored to a patient’s individual needs. The most common cancer treatments are surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy. And these well-known methods are now joined by newer treatments like immunotherapy and targeted therapies.

As scientists continue to make progress against cancer, side effects from treatments become more manageable. And when a patient doesn’t react positively to one course of treatment treatment, there are now many other treatment options available for patients to keep cancer at bay.


Dr Jan Schaefer is Chief Medical Officer at Medigo, the leading booking platform for safe medical travel.

Read More


Health, Lifestyle, Diet, Health and Fitness Trend Predictions for 2018

We all get excited about health, diet, food and fitness at this time of the year, but what are the trends we can look forward to?


Steel cut oats comeback

Whilst avocado toast seems to be here to stay, a new breakfast contestant has entered the game. Experiencing a similar comeback, steel cut oats and its versatility is becoming a more frequent sighting on Instagram. Oats is filling and energy-boosting, offering an ideal blank breakfast canvas to be mixed with all your favourite delicious and nutritious toppings, including pear, raw dark chocolate, chia seeds, and (hold on to your seat) avocado. It is also a healthy way to start the day as it contains soluble fibre in much higher quantities than other grains, which helps reduce the absorption of cholesterol. Studies have shown that a 70g bowl of organic oats is enough to reduce your levels of harmful cholesterol by around 7%, similar to the results of doctor-prescribed statins.

Blue is the new green

Blue lattes and smoothies is the new hottest trend in Australia and it is only a matter of time until London’s coffee shops follow the craze. Made famous by vegan-friendly coffeehouse, Matcha Mylkcafe in Melbourne, the drink includes E3 live blue algae, making it an icy-blue hue. This superfood is packing a surprisingly high dose of protein and is great for blending into nutritious smoothies or making an Instagram friendly latte.     

Korean cuisine

So far Korean food has stayed in the shadow as other Asian foods have hit the top, but it will be taking the spotlight in 2018 as a result of the growing interest in fermented foods such as kombucha. Restaurants will be reinventing old classics with a Korean-inspired twist and will be perfect for anyone looking to upgrade from the weekly pad thai takeout.

Estonian cuisine

This is the new Nordic cuisine, a food trend emphasising the earthly flavours, made famous by chef Rene Redzepi at Noma in Copenhagen. The Estonian cuisine comprises the fresh and local, making the most of its season. Whether it’s spruce shoots or pickled ramsons, blackcurrant leaves or grated green pine cones, Estonian chefs are returning to the forest.



The sober scene

An increased interest in improving our health has meant that a growing number of people, particularly those aged 16 to 24, are shunning alcohol, according to National Statistics (2017). As a result, mixologists are starting to provide as much consideration and complexity into their ‘mocktails’ as they do to their theatre like cocktails. We are expected to see a rise in alcohol-free bars across the country as well as wider offerings in shops, with alcohol-free spirits such as Seedlip which is making an entrance into the market. 

Carbs are back to stay

The trend in recent years for creating carb-free diet and dishes seems to be over (hurrah!). Interest and innovation in bread and pasta making are bringing them back to the table, and we are bound to see an increase in dishes made on artisan pasta or accompanied by a homemade slice of bread on the side again. Supermarkets are starting to stock healthier versions of carbs alternatives such as buckwheat pasta or cauliflower rice. 

Time is of the essence

A combination of busy lives and a growing want for home cooked meals has resulted in a need for quick and (very important) healthy 15 minute or less meals. Meal plans and monthly deliveries, such as HelloFresh and Blue Apron are becoming increasingly popular and health apps, such as Lifesum and Wholesome, are offering quick healthy recipes specific to your dietary needs.

Zero waste eating

There has been a growing awareness on recycling and waste reduction for some time now. You might think that you are already doing your bit by visiting the local farmers market and using reusable shopping bags, but the latest figures show that Britons are still binning 4.4m tonnes of household food waste. The new challenge is zero waste eating; the practice of eating without producing waste, avoiding packaging and food waste by eating all parts of the food that we buy. Cutting out packaging waste is also a healthy choice, as canned and processed foods will be the first thing to go. What do you say, have you found your new year resolution?

Accepting the vegans

No longer the ‘weird’ dinner mate, vegans and vegetarians have been fully accepted into the food scene, as chefs known for their meat dishes are looking for a new challenge and diving into the world of plant-based dishes and meat alternatives. Menus are even being reorganised, less by the meat and pasta section and more by the tapas, entrees, and mains. The most recent restaurant to join the hype is Wagamama. The chain has around 120 restaurants in the UK and has introduced a new, expanded vegan and vegetarian menu including 15-items.



Technology will enhance your workouts

As technology continues to advance, we will see further evidence of the impact technology can have on our health and the advancement of fitness. In 2018, we can expect to see increasing numbers of fitness classes which you are able to livestream and join in from the comfort of your own home. In recent years we have seen the focus change from individual fitness to group training, which creates a motivating and encouraging environment for individual progress. The increasing accessibility of live streamed workouts, will enable you to still enjoy the notion of group workouts, while having the added benefit of not having to leave your house to participate. We can also expect to see virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) becoming increasingly involved in our workouts. From gyms integrating VR headsets into their workout options, to the ability to be visually transported to a fitness studio from the comfort of your own home, technological advancements such as these will ensure that our fitness is becoming a totally immersive experience.

Alternative barre workouts

Barre classes, known for their ability to effectively target and work key muscle groups, have taken both the US and the UK by storm over the last year and 2018 will be no different. As barre continues to grow in popularity, we will start to see classes evolving to incorporate other types of training such as boxing and cardio, into the repertoire. This will be a great workout, ensuring that you are still effectively targeting muscles whilst also significantly increasing your heart rate. The popularity of hot yoga, will also extend to barre this year, with many classes being held in heated rooms, in order to maximise the effects of the workout upon your muscles.

Aqua workouts

We can expect to see fitness taking to the water this year, with water workouts becoming increasingly popular. Working while in water is a great way to workout as the water provides continuous resistance, which allows you to work your muscles through a larger range of motion. Exercising in water is also great for those with injuries as it is low impact while still being a great workout for the body. Expect to see classes such as HIIT (high intensity interval training) and cycle classes taking in place in water.


Scandi ideas such as ‘hygge’ and ‘lagom’, key trends over the past few years, have increasing influence over our culture and the new buzzword to replace them, will influence us to spend more time this year in the great outdoors. ‘Friluftsliv’, is the concept loosely understood as the importance of connecting with nature and spending time outdoors. This year we can expect to see more people connecting with this notion, forgoing the traditional gym workouts, in favour of getting outside and running, or taking a walk with friends. While hiking has always been popular, we can expect to see increasing numbers of people turn towards walking and exploring the outdoors as great way to get a moderate intensity workout, while also relieving the mind of stress and concerns and allowing it to reconnect with nature.


Frida Harju-Westman is the in-house nutritionist at the health app Lifesum, a Stockholm-based digital health company with over 20 million users. Using tech and psychology, it creates a tailored plan to help people live happier, more balanced lives. Whether the goal is to lose weight, build muscle, or just live a healthier life, Lifesum shows how changing small, everyday habits can transform your life. The app is available on iOS and Android.



Read More


5 exercises you can do without leaving your office desk

For many of us, five days of our week are spent sitting in offices, hunched over computers, with no real opportunity to leave the office to get any exercise. The health risks associated with this lifestyle are widely known and spending our days like this can leave us feeling frustrated and unhealthy.

While there isn’t much you can do about the nature of your office job, there are some exercise you can do which will help strengthen and tone your body without even leaving the office:

Magic Carpet ride

If you spend the day sitting on a sturdy chair, then this this is a good exercise you can do for strengthening your core and arms. Lift your feet onto the chair and sit cross legged (so that your feet are on the seat), suck in your stomach, place your hands on the arm rests and putting your weight on your arms, lift yourself a few inches off the seat. Using your hands, arms and core, hold the position for ten-fifteen seconds before lowering yourself back onto the seat. Rest and repeat five times.

Wrist stretch

Typing away all day can be hard on our wrists, so this is a great stretch to relax them. Simply stretch out one arm at a time, (palm facing down) and use your other hand to pull the fingers of the outstretched arm down for three seconds and then up for three seconds. Then alternate to the other arm.

Leg lifts and curls

If you are standing by the printer waiting for it to finish churning out documents, then this is an ideal opportunity for some leg toning exercises. Lift one leg behind you, or to you side, making sure to keep it straight, hold it for a second and then slowly lower it down before repeating with the other leg. Another leg toning exercise you can do if you are sitting, is to stretch your legs out in front of you and cross them over. Using your core lift them off the floor, press your top leg down against your bottom leg and resist the pressure with your bottom leg. Hold this until your leg muscles feel tired and then repeat placing the other leg on top.

Steady heel raise

This is one you can do either standing or sitting and is great for strengthening calf muscles. Stand or sit up as tall as you can and slowly lift your heels off the floor until you are resting on just the balls of your feet. Hold and then slowly lower, repeat twenty times on each foot and then do a set of 10 on each foot. (You can add more reps as you get stronger)

Neck and shoulder shaper

Aching necks and shoulders are a well-known feature of office life, but there are stretches you can do that not only help relieve this, but also help tone your neck and shoulders! Beginning with your neck –  place your head into your hands and press your palms into your forehead as if to push your head backwards, resist using your neck muscles. Then clasp your hands together behind your head and push your head backwards, using your hands to resist. After you have toned your neck, it’s time to move onto the shoulders. Roll back your shoulders until your shoulder blades are touching, imagining you are holding an object such as a pencil between your shoulder blades, hold for 10 seconds before relaxing and repeating.


Frida Harju-Westman is the in-house nutritionist at the health app Lifesum, a Stockholm-based digital health company with over 20 million users. Using tech and psychology, it creates a tailored plan to help people live happier, more balanced lives. Whether the goal is to lose weight, build muscle, or just live a healthier life, Lifesum shows how changing small, everyday habits can transform your life. The app is available on iOS and Android.


desk exercises help survive office

Read More


Healthy eating micro-resolutions for the New Year

Once the New Year starts, many people get caught up in trying to make drastic changes to their lifestyle and end up giving up on their resolutions altogether. But the advise from the company that brought us the health app Lifesum believes that it is better to make micro-resolutions, based around healthy eating and lifestyle, taking steps to change small things which can often lead to better success in the long term.

Sugar detox

When we’re feeling sluggish, we often reach for sugar to give us quick energy boost. However, sugar isn’t good for our health and not only is it addictive, but the quick pick-me-up will only leave you more exhausted once it wears off. 

  • Start with a complete sugar detox for the first couple of days, before reintroducing natural sugars and unrefined carbohydrates for the remainder of the month.
  • After detoxing, be sure to reintroduce the right kinds of sugar, such as those from honey and fruit. However, don’t forget that these are still sugar and the amount that you consume should be monitored.

Drink more water

Keeping hydrated is important in helping organs and cells to function, reducing hunger and helping flush out toxins, so make sure you drink enough.

  • Of course, apps such as Lifesum help you track your water intake and stay hydrated.

Eat more vegetables

Vegetables are an essential part of our diet and are integral to a healthy lifestyle, so make sure you get all the nutrients and vitamins.

  • Instead of snacking on sweet things, try substituting in vegetables. You could have carrot sticks and red pepper with hummus, or try slicing sweet potato and roasting it to make sweet potato toast.

Have a good breakfast

Research shows that missing breakfast results in low blood sugar and slower metabolism. Your breakfast doesn’t have to be elaborate, just make sure you have one – it’s a key part of healthy eating.

  • Eggs are a great breakfast food as they are low in calories but packed with protein, or fruit salad which provides a boost of vitamins and antioxidants.

Clean Eating

Clean eating is a great micro-resolution to make which will dramatically improve your health in the long term. It’s easier to eat clean if you put thought into your food.

  • For lunch, follow the basic equation of protein + carbohydrate + fat. Chicken or salmon are a good choice as they are low in fat but high in protein. Vegetables such as broccoli and asparagus are a good carbohydrate high in vitamins, and an olive oil based sauce easily fulfils your fat requirement.

Frida Harju-Westman is the in-house nutritionist at the health app Lifesum, a Stockholm-based digital health company with over 20 million users. Using tech and psychology, it creates a tailored plan to help people live happier, more balanced lives. Whether the goal is to lose weight, build muscle, or just live a healthier life, Lifesum shows how changing small, everyday habits can transform your life. The app is available on iOS and Android.


eight reasons scandinavians healthier especially norwegians

Read More


Prostate cancer: What you need to know

What is prostate cancer?

Only men can be affected by prostate cancer, as only men have a prostate gland. The prostate gland is essential in the making of semen and increases in size as men age. Prostate cancer happens when certain cells within the prostate start to grow and divide in an uncontrolled way. While it can be a slow-growing cancer, some forms of prostate cancer can spread to other parts of the body and require immediate medical treatment.

What are the symptoms of prostate cancer?

The earliest sign of prostate cancer is usually a problem with urinating, either in the form of needing to urinate more frequently, especially at night, or having an inconsistent flow when urinating. It is important to note that this might not necessarily be a sign of cancer, as with age, the prostate becomes enlarged and can result in the above anyway.

Other symptoms of prostate cancer can include lower back pain or rectal pain or discomfort, as well as difficulties relating to sex, such as blood in the semen, pain when ejaculating or erectile dysfunction.

How can you check yourself?

As mentioned above, some of the early symptoms of prostate cancer are the same as those of an enlarged prostate. However, if you find that you are displaying a number of the above symptoms over a period of time, then definitely make an appointment with your GP to discuss these.

Additionally, once you reach the age of 55, it is a good idea to be mindful of your health and attend your annual checkups, which will include a prostate exam and are essential for spotting any abnormalities early and receiving timely treatment. One in seven men will get prostate cancer, so keep an eye out for any unusual changes and listen to your body.

What are the treatment options?

For prostate cancer, treatment options can vary from patient to patient, depending on the stage of the cancer. The most common surgical procedure is a prostatectomy, but it can have a big impact on a man’s life, as men can become impotent or suffer from incontinence following the surgery.

Other treatment options include radiotherapy, chemotherapy, hormone therapy or high-intensity focused ultrasound. Each of the options can its pros and cons, so you should sit down with your doctor and discuss each option in detail, to choose one that will be most effective and suitable to you.

Where can you get treatment?

From looking at our own data at Medigo, most patients suffering from prostate cancer remain in the UK for treatment, as there are virtually no delays in the NHS providing treatments for the condition. However, for those patients that do choose to travel abroad for treatment, German hospitals are renowned for  having considerable expertise in oncology.

See also: Why breast cancer is something men should know about too

Dr Jan Schaefer is Chief Medical Officer at Medigo, the leading booking platform for safe medical travel.

Read More


Why breast cancer is something men should know about too

While women are significantly more likely to suffer from breast cancer, it is an issue that can affect men as well. In fact, men have a 1 in 1,000 chance of getting breast cancer and, while the risks are significantly higher for women, men should also be aware of any potential warning signs:

Is breast cancer a concern for men?

While women are 100 times more likely than men to get breast cancer, it is still important that men are aware of the condition. Sadly, the main concern for men is lack of awareness and therefore, late diagnosis. In cases of male breast cancer, once the condition is diagnosed, 30-40% of the time it is at a III or IV stage. At my company Medigo,  a handful of the 80,000 patients we have helped were men with breast cancer and, unfortunately, all of them were already at a late stage, which supports the fact that there is a lack of awareness, not just amongst men but amongst their partners and caregivers too.

Risk factors

Not much research has been done into the causes of male breast cancer, as the chances of men having it are so much smaller. However, there are a number of factors that might increase the risk in men.

First of all, family history and genetics have a role to play. Men whose relatives had breast cancer are more susceptible to developing the disease in later years – especially in their 60s and 70s. Other known factors include radiation exposure and increased levels of, or exposure to, estrogen. Estrogen in men could be increased through medication, obesity and liver disease. Additionally, alcoholism has been found to have links with breast cancer in men.

What to look out for

Given the fact that the male breast is typically smaller than a woman’s, this makes spotting any symptoms easier, which is why it is essential that men know exactly what to look out for, to catch the condition early and get the required treatment.

First of all, it is important to know how to check yourself for any early signs of breast cancer. Whenever you have the opportunity, whether in the shower or just before bed, press your fingers flat against your chest (right hand for the left pectoral, and left hand for the right) and move your fingers in a clockwise motion. Check the entire area, starting from the outside and moving towards the nipple, looking out for any unusual bumps or lumps. An unusual lump is typically hard, not painful and doesn’t move around.

Once you’ve done this, check your nipples, looking out for any unusual discharge by gently squeezing each one in turn. You should also check for visual signs, such as the nipple turning inwards, a sore or rash around the nipple, or the surrounding skin becoming hard, red or blistered.

Lastly, you should also check your armpit for any unusual bumps, which can indicate swollen glands.

When to see your doctor

The chances of men developing breast cancer are very low; however, if during a routine self-check you find any warning signs, like lumps, unusual discharge, rashes, or puckering of the skin, make sure to visit your doctor. If you and your family have a history of breast cancer, make sure to mention this during your visit, along with any of the symptoms that you are experiencing.


Dr Jan Schaefer is Chief Medical Officer at Medigo, the leading booking platform for safe medical travel.

Read More