We’re all excited to have the excuse not to shave for an entire month. There are, however, still many who do not understand the hype in raising awareness to men’s health. When we hear frightening statistics, we subconsciously tune it out. We are too desensitized to the “scare tactics” of the healthcare system to be able to feel the weight of the things that are killing us. The simple fact is that the typical man is not likely to talk openly about their health. Consequently, they are even less likely to visit the doctor when something may be wrong (about 24% less likely than women). We feel like we need to be strong. Minor aches, pains, irritations, or things that seem out of place are not usually things that we feel the need to have someone else check for us. We’re happy to self-diagnose our symptoms and “deal with it.”
Movember.com has enlisted the services of many moustache-wielding celebrities to bring a level of humor to the movement. This clip of Nick Offerman happens to be my favorite.
If you are a man or know one that you care about, here are 5 things to talk openly about:
- Prostate Cancer – Prostate cancer occurs when some of the cells of the prostate reproduce much more rapidly than in a normal prostate, causing a tumor. If left untreated prostate cancer cells may eventually break out of the prostate and invade distant parts of the body, particularly the bones and lymph nodes, producing secondary tumors, a process known as metastasis. Once the cancer escapes from the prostate, treatment is still possible but is more intensive and difficult.
- Testicular Cancer – Cancer that develops in one or both testicles is called testicular cancer. The testicles are part of the male reproductive system and are responsible for the production of male hormones (mostly testosterone) and sperm. Testicular cancer commonly presents as a small hard lump, with swelling or a change in the consistency of the testicle. Some men also experience a dull ache in the testicle or lower abdomen. In the majority of cases, only one testicle is affected. Men, regardless of age, who find such an abnormality, should go to the doctor immediately.
- Mental Health (Depression, Anxiety, Psychosis, Schizophrenia) – Depression is more than just a low mood – it’s a serious illness. Depression affects how you think and feel about yourself. You may lose interest in work, hobbies and doing things you normally enjoy. You may lack energy, have difficulty sleeping or sleep more than usual. Some people feel anxious or irritable and find it difficult to concentrate. Anxiety is more than just feeling stressed or worried. While stress and anxious feelings are a common response to a situation where a person feels under pressure, it usually passes once the stressful situation has passed, or ‘stressor’ is removed. There is a group of illnesses, which disrupt the functioning of the brain so much they cause a condition called psychosis. When someone experiences psychosis they are unable to distinguish what is real — there is a loss of contact with reality. Schizophrenia is a medical condition that affects the normal functioning of the brain, interfering with a person’s ability to think, feel and act. Treatment helps relieve many symptoms of schizophrenia, some recover completely, and, with time, some find that their symptoms improve. About one percent of Americans have this illness. Most of these will be first affected in their late teens and early twenties.
- Male Breast Cancer – Male breast cancer occurs when malignant cells form in the tissues of the breast. Any man can develop breast cancer, but it is most common among men who are 60 – 70 years of age. About one percent of all breast cancers occur in men. About 2,000 men are diagnosed with breast cancer annually, with about 450 deaths due to male breast cancer occurring each year.
- General Heart Health –
- Don’t smoke. If you smoke or use other tobacco products, ask your doctor to help you quit. It’s also important to avoid exposure to secondhand smoke, air pollution and exposure to chemicals (such as in the workplace).
- Eat a healthy diet. Choose vegetables, fruits, whole grains, high-fiber foods and lean sources of protein, such as fish. Limit foods high in saturated fat and sodium.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Losing excess pounds — and keeping them off — can lower your risk of heart disease as well as various types of cancer.
- Get moving. Include physical activity in your daily routine. You know exercise can help you control your weight and lower your risk of heart disease and stroke. But did you know that it may also lower your risk of certain types of cancer? Choose sports or other activities you enjoy, from basketball to brisk walking.
- Limit alcohol. If you choose to drink alcohol, do so only in moderation. For men, that means up to two drinks a day for men age 65 and younger and one drink a day for men older than age 65. The risk of various types of cancer, such as liver cancer, appears to increase with the amount of alcohol you drink and the length of time you’ve been drinking regularly. Too much alcohol can also raise your blood pressure.
- Manage stress. If you feel constantly on edge or under assault, your lifestyle habits may suffer — and so might your immune system. Take steps to reduce stress — or learn to deal with stress in healthy ways.
I am personally convinced that strong will is the biggest killer of men. In most cases, these illnesses are curable if detected early. If the Movember movement has only one affect in men’s health, it should be to convince men to stop avoiding the doctor.