Movember (Men’s Health)

We have all heard of “no-shave November” and may have even embarked on an ill-fated attempt at growing a beard or mustache during this fun-filled month of celebrating football, food and family, among other things. 🧔

Perhaps by Nov. 30 you can gloat about the “manliness” and superiority of your robust facial fur to your patchy, bald-faced, or peach-fuzzed friends. But, what started out as a trend or friendly competition among ”bros” has since transformed into a global movement for awareness about men’s health issues.   Tweet This!

 

Movember

The Movember Foundation emerged in the early 2000’s with their annual “Movember” event (going on now). The goal is to “change the face of men’s health” as a charity event championing men’s health issues like prostate cancer, testicular cancer and depression/suicide.   Tweet This!

Cancers specific to men are often times difficult to talk about or discuss because these conditions directly affect the concept of manhood and what makes us men. Showing vulnerability or seeking treatment is also difficult for many.

Ultimately, the goal of this event is to reduce the amount of preventable deaths through early detection, screenings, awareness and effective treatments. Those participating in Movember are encouraged to grow a mustache, raise awareness and funds, challenge friends and coworkers, get health screenings, and put out a call for others to take control of their health.   Tweet This!

 

Tactics for Prevention

Simple procedures performed at annual physicals can catch some serious, and potentially life-threatening health problems.   Tweet This!

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), aside from non-melanoma skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men in the United States. The prostate is part of the male reproductive system, and while changes in this organ over time are common, it becomes increasingly important to monitor changes over time.

Age, family history of cancer, and race are all factors affecting the development of prostate cancer; men over the age of 65 are especially at increased risk.   Tweet This! It is important to listen to your doctor about the importance of regular prostate exams as you age.

Testicular cancer is not as common as other types of cancer in men, but can pose a risk to a younger demographic.   Tweet This! According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), testicular cancer is the most common cancer in men ages 15-34. Approximately 0.4 percent of people will be diagnosed with testicular cancer in their lifetime.

Although NCI reports an increase in testicular cancer diagnoses, the survivability and curability of the disease is also increasing, due to improved screening and treatments.   Tweet This! A screening for testicular cancer is usually completed during routine physical exams, but most cases are discovered by men themselves either by chance or self-exam. If a lump or irregularity is found on the testicle it is important to seek medical treatment as soon as possible. Early detection and medical intervention can drastically decrease mortality rates.

 

Depression in Men

Depression is a serious mental health issue in the United States. It is a condition characterized by prolonged feelings of sadness, emptiness, fatigue, changes in appetite, changes in sleep patterns, malaise and generalized aches, and pains.

Specific to men, symptoms of depression can also include uncharacteristic anxiety, anger, substance abuse and risky behavior.   Tweet This! There are various reports of differences between men and women, and their respective rates of being diagnosed with depression.

However, one aspect of this gender gap in depression is clear; men are far less likely to seek help from a mental health professional.   Tweet This! Reluctance by men to seek help or medical attention for depression has led to a staggering statistic from the CDC:

Men are four times more likely to commit suicide than women.

The stigma attached to mental health issues are prevalent regardless of gender. But, the reality is that speaking up or seeking help is not a sign of weakness.   Tweet This! No matter who you are or what you are facing, speak up or seek help if you feel you are in a “dark place” that you can’t seem to pull out of on your own.

Unfortunately, many men feel as though they have to “man up” and deal with depression on their own. This reluctance to seek treatment can lead to those feelings of hopelessness becoming actions against your own life.

We could all benefit from being more open to conversations about mental health. Genuinely caring about how your buddy feels does not make you any “less of a man.” Rather, it makes you a good friend.   Tweet This!

Learning to recognize the signs of depression in ourselves and in our friends and loved ones is extremely important. Support and willingness to seek treatment for depression can save lives. Don’t let pride or ego get in the way of a chance at being healthy and happy.   Tweet This!

So, in November and every month after that, try joining the cause by participating and taking control of your own health and wellness.

Learn more about the Movember movement at Movember.com.


National Suicide Prevention Hotline:  1-800-273-8255

 

Resources

cdc.gov/cancer/prostate/index.htm
cancer.gov/types/testicular
nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/men-and-depression/index.shtml
apa.org/monitor/2015/12/numbers.aspx