Be on the lookout for more men sporting facial hair. It’s Movember — also known as No-Shave November or Moustache November, and the next 30 days is meant to bring awareness to men’s health.
Every day of the year should be a day devoted to the health of men, but this month shines a spotlight on often-overlooked issues affecting men, such as prostate and testicular cancers as well as depression and suicide.
This annual event began in 2004 in Australia when a group of friends wanted to raise awareness of the need for early cancer detection, diagnosis and effective treatments for men. Their goal was to ultimately reduce the number of preventable deaths men face.
To help raise that awareness, instead of wearing a colored ribbon, men are encouraged to grow a moustache as their “ribbon” reminding each of us of the importance of men’s health.
The phrase, “grow a mo, save a bro,” is meant to inspire donations, conversations, and real change.
One of Movember’s aims is to bring to light the fact that men, on average, die six years younger than women, and for reasons that are largely preventable.
Here are five things men should do in Movember to do protecting their physical and mental health:
1. Make man time
Stay connected with other men friends to catch up and check in on one another.
2. Have open conversations
Be there for each other, listening and giving of your time.
3. Know the numbers
At the age of 40, men should talk to their doctor about prostate cancer and having a prostate specific antigen (PSA) test.
4. Go nuts
Men should know what is normal for their testicles by checking them regularly and if something is not right, to go see their doctor.
5. Move more
Men should add more activity every day. Take walking meetings, take the stairs, or bicycle to work.
This month of Movember is focused on three specific health issues to men — prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and mental health and suicide prevention:
Since only men have a prostate gland, they need to know the facts on prostate cancer and to take action early to prevent it from spreading.
Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men in the U.S. This walnut-sized and shaped gland tends to grow bigger as a man ages. If detected early, men have a 98% chance of survival beyond five years. If detected late, men have only a 26% chance of survival beyond five years.
What do men need to do to care for their prostate? They need to go to their doctor and starting at the age of 40, have a routine prostate specific antigen (PSA) test done. By starting early, this improves the chances of finding prostate cancer at an earlier, more treatable stage.
Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in young men aged 15-34 in the U.S. In most cases, the outcome for men with testicular cancer is very good — a 95% chance of survival.
But for the 1 in 20 men who won’t make it, that is no comfort. The best thing a man can do is to feel their testicles for any abnormalities on a regular basis. This helps a man to know what feels right and to recognize if there is anything that is abnormal.
Men who are at risk of testicular cancer include those with undescended testes at birth, or who have a family history, like a father or brother, who has had testicular cancer. The good news is this cancer is highly treatable and be effectively treated and often cured, if diagnosed and treated early.
Mental health and suicide prevention
The statistics tell a story: three out of four suicides are men. What can each of us do? We can talk, listen, encourage action, and check in on the men we love and know.
There are many resources for men who are feeling down and can’t seem to shake the funk or feelings of being overwhelmed about life.
Help men to move beyond these feelings. Help them recognize symptoms of depression. Then, have them talk to someone they trust. Encourage them to get moving through physical exercise. Make sure they take breaks giving themselves downtime to get out and have some fun. If they still are struggling mentally, have them talk to a professional for advice and support.
For men needing to speak with someone immediately, contact National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255; if suicide is imminent, call 911 or go directly to emergency services.
Dr. Samadi is a board-certified urologic oncologist trained in open and traditional and laparoscopic surgery and is an expert in robotic prostate surgery. He is chairman of urology, chief of robotic surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital. He is a medical contributor for the Fox News Channel’s Medical A-Team. Follow Dr. Samadi on Twitter, Instagram, Pintrest, SamadiMD.com, davidsamadiwiki, davidsamadibio and Facebook
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