You may have noticed that men have misplaced their razors this “Movember,” but what exactly does the month signify? The purpose of No Shave November or Movember is about more than just seeing whose facial hair grows the fastest and seeing your friends and all kinds of celebrities sport moustaches.
The theme of Movember is changing the face of men’s health, and the month’s purpose is to raise awareness about three of the biggest health risks affecting men: prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and mental health issues. The best way to celebrate the month: Encourage the men you love to be aware of their risks and know how to prevent problems.
Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer among men after skin cancer. More than 2 million men in the US alone are cancer survivors. Several major factors influence risk, and some of them unfortunately cannot be changed.
Risk factors include:
- Age: Men over 40 face higher risks, and six in 10 cases are found after age 65
- Race: Prostate cancer is more common in African-American and Caribbean men; they’re two times as likely as white men to be diagnosed. It’s less common in Asian and Hispanic men.
- Family history: Can increase risk due to the presence of the tumor-suppressing gene BRCA2, yet most cases have no family history.
- Lifestyle: An unhealthy diet, obesity, smoking, and a history of sexually-transmitted diseases can increase risk.
The best prevention strategy is living a healthy lifestyle and early detection. Signs and symptoms include blood in urine or semen, erectile dysfunction, pain in hips and spine, weakness in legs, and loss of bowel and bladder function.
Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in men ages 15-34. Annual exams and early detection are key. Signs and symptom include lumps or swelling in testicles and low, dull aches in the abdomen and groin. Testicular cancer can be cured, but the treatment may cause infertility.
Men’s Mental Health
One in four adults experience mental health issues — and the highest rate of depression is among men ages 40-59. On average, 87 men each day take their life by suicide in the US.
Symptoms of depression include irritability, hopelessness, aggression, drinking or substance abuse, and isolation from friends and family. A contributing factor: Men who face mental health issues tend to “tough it out” and struggle alone.
Prevention includes maintaining healthy relationships, talking to someone, and seeing your doctor if symptoms persist.
For more information about Movember visit: https://us.movember.com/