You’re most likely familiar with “No shave November”. But did you know this movement to grow out facial hair for the entire month of November stems from an organization focused on improving men’s health? Movember is a leading organization changing the face of men’s health, focused on bringing exposure to the health concerns that impact mens health the most. Every November, men are encouraged to grow a mustache to raise awareness for various men’s health issues, specifically prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and male suicide.
Lack of awareness of men’s health has devastating impacts. Men die on average five years earlier than women for often largely preventable reasons. Men’s mental health is a major risk factor largely due to the fact that many men have been taught to hide our emotions and not ask for help.
Movember aims to provide men with necessary resources and a strong community to promote healthier, happier, and longer lives. Below we’re diving into some of the most prevalent conditions impacting men’s health. This November, talk to the men in your lives about health and to all my fellow men, we’re in this fight together.
Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men in the U.S. Globally over 1.4 million men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year. Although prostate cancer is one of the more aggressive forms of cancer, early detection can be extremely effective at saving lives. The risk of getting prostate cancer increases as you get older, but it’s not only a cancer for older men. When you’re 50, it’s recommended that you ask your doctor about PSA testing. This number goes down to 45 if you’re African American, or have a family history of prostate cancer.
So, how can you stay informed with your prostate health?
- Go to the doctor
- Ask about PSA testing
- Have conversations with the men in your family about your family history and prostate health. Encourage the men in your lives to do so as well!
Warning signs include:
- A need to urinate frequently, especially at night
- Difficulty starting urination or holding back urine
- Weak or interrupted flow of urine
- Painful or burning urination
- Difficulty in having an erection
- Painful ejaculation
- Blood in urine or semen
- Frequent pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips, or upper thighs
Testicular cancer only makes up one percent of male tumors, but it’s the number one cancer among men ages 15 to 39. The cause of testicular cancer is still unknown; however, it’s highly treatable and curable when it’s caught early. One of the main issues is that 62% of men at risk don’t know how to check themselves. It’s recommended that men feel their testicles every month to learn what feels normal. If something doesn’t feel normal, be cautious and go to the doctor to get it checked out.
Staying informed with testicular health:
1. Ask your primary physician about testicular cancer to learn more. Staying in the know is key!
2. Give yourself weekly testicle exams. Know what is normal for your body. Learn how to give yourself a proper testicle exam here.
3. Have a conversation with the men in your family about your family history and testicle health. Testicular cancer can be hereditary. And once again, encourage the men in your lives to do the same.
About one man dies by suicide every minute of every day globally. In the U.S., approximately 4 out of 5 suicides are men. By 2030, Movember aims to reduce the rate of male suicides by 25% by focusing on prevention, early intervention, and health promotion. It’s time for men to take action to be mentally well, and we can all help support this effort. How to join the fight:
1. Ask: If you think something is wrong, don’t be afraid to ask. Men often say we’re fine when we really aren’t. So if you feel like something is wrong, speak up and trust your instincts. If you’re struggling, there is no shame in asking for help and talking to someone about how you feel. After all, this world is hard for everyone sometimes!
2. Listen: If someone confides in you, you don’t have to give advice or try to solve the problem. listen without judgement, and give your full attention. Pay attention to your personal needs, listen to your inner voice, and give yourself grace.
3. Consider lifestyle changes: Think of things that are proven to improve well-being like exercising, eating a balanced diet, and getting enough sleep. These lifestyle changes can be beneficial for living a balanced life and for mental health, but are not the “be-all, end all”.
4. Check in: Stay in touch with the men in your lives.If you ever think someone’s life is in immediate danger, get help from emergency services. And again, listen to your internal voice. Check in with yourself and your needs.
This Movember, we hope you will start a conversation about men’s health and help combat common illnesses for men that are preventable! To close, here are 5 major takeaways:
1. Spend time with your friends and family, and stay connected to those who you love.
2. Talk more. You don’t have to know all of the answers, but being a good listener can have a tremendous impact. Extend grace to yourself and seek out someone to talk to when you need. Talk about your family history and encourage your loved ones to do the same.
3. Know the numbers. When you turn 50, it’s important to talk to your doctor and see if you should get a PSA test. A reminder that it drops to 45 if you’re African American or have a family history of prostate cancer.
4. Know your body. Give your genitals a monthly exam and go to the doctor if something doesn’t feel right.
5. Move more. Add more activity to your everyday life, and do more of what makes you feel good.
Last but not least, if you are looking to get more involved with organizations supporting men’s health, the following are local nonprofits that are a part of the UW Combined Fund Drive. Check out their work & see how you can join:
Movember Foundation (charity code 1481696): As a global men’s health movement, the Movember Foundation has the ambition to contribute to improving the lives of men around the world. To achieve this, we challenge men to grow mustache’s during Movember (the month formerly known as November) to spark conversation and raise funds for prostate cancer, testicular cancer and mental health problems.
Prostate Cancer Foundation (charity code 0524527): One in six American men is diagnosed with prostate cancer each year. One dies every 19 minutes. The Prostate Cancer Foundation PCF is the world’s largest philanthropic supporter of prostate cancer research. The PCF’s urgent goal is to discover and develop new treatments and a cure for prostate cancer.
ZERO – The Project to End Prostate Cancer (charity code 0316051): In the fight to defeat prostate cancer, we are your source for information, your voice in government, and mobile screening services for America’s underserved communities.
Family Jewels Foundation (charity code 1482031): Family Jewels Foundation provides financial support to students whose sibling had cancer, and educates young men about the symptoms of testicular cancer, the 1 cancer of men ages 15-35, in memory of our son, who died at age 20 of testicular cancer.