Men’s Health and Why it is Often Overlooked
As we exit another October, with a focus on breast cancer awareness, men’s health can easily be forgotten and men ignored as potential sufferers of breast cancer, as the word pink deters away from this fact. And although the diagnostic rate of men being diagnosed with breast cancer is much lower than that of women, it doesn’t mean that men are not prone to other illnesses, which are often overlooked.
Like Pink October focuses mainly on women, Movember primarily takes into consideration men’s health. The characteristic moustache that has become associated with the movement is the equivalent of the colour pink in Pink October, and men around the world are encouraged to grow a moustache in November to bring awareness to the cause. Women too can be spotted wearing fake moustaches in solidarity with the cause.
The Movember Cause
But what is Movember? Movember does not focus on just particular cancers associated with men, such as prostate cancer and testicular cancer, but it looks at men’s health on a wider scale and also looks towards mental health and suicide prevention.
In fact, according to the Movember movement, not only does one male per minute die from suicide around the world, but 75% of suicides in the UK alone are male. The cause focuses primarily on mental health in men and that’s why awareness for the cause is of utmost importance.
We live in a culture where emotions in men are deemed a weakness. Men try not to expose any emotions or issues they may be experiencing as a result, and so the issue of mental health in men is often overlooked. They may feel awkward reaching out for help. Yet the need for social connection, a safe place to talk, and support for male issues are real.
Movember also looks at men’s physical health, with a focus on prostate cancer as it is one of the most common cancers in men – up to 1.3 million per year worldwide – whilst testicular cancer is the more common in young males mainly aged 15-39 years of age. Similarly to breast cancer awareness, men must know the symptoms of prostate cancer as well as how it’s caused. It also means understanding treatment options and their side effects.
Prostate cancer usually affects men in the mid-forties upwards. Men who are this age or older should take a blood test called a Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) to check for prostate cancer. It is unique to men as the prostate is the gland that produces semen. According to the Movember movement, when the cells in the prostrate reproduce at a greater speed than usual, a tumour may form. Like other cancers, if left untreated, prostate cancer can spread to the lymph nodes and other areas.
Since not all men experience the symptoms of prostate cancer, going to a doctor regularly to get checked is of utmost importance. Those who do experience symptoms may experience changes in urinary patterns as well as in their sexual function.
Similarly to breast cancer, men can and should check themselves for testicular cancer, and look out for any lumps, changes or pain. Men who have a family history may be at increased risk.
How You Can Help
One of the main initiatives of Movember is awareness, and you can do that easily by growing a moustache. But if a tache is not your style, or perhaps you simply can’t grow one, there are other ways to help. The initiative Move for Movember is a fundraising activity that allows you to walk or run in order to raise money by walking just 2km a day for the whole month. Or why not host your own fundraiser? From a car wash to a football game, there are plenty of ways to help.
To learn more or to simply learn how to grow your moustache, visit Movember.
To safeguard your health, visit Laferla and learn about our different health insurance plans.