Is it an excuse for us not to shave for a month? A reason to grow that incredible mustache? … You know, the one your spouse tells you to trim during the other 11 months of the year. Is it a chance to channel your inner Viking? Perhaps a vintage tribute to your pops in high school? … Of course, it’s all of those things!
Yet, more importantly, it’s a time for us as men to take a conscious look at our health. Initially, the “Movember” and similar “No Shave November” movements began in the 2000s (2003 and 2009, respectively) as a creative way to increase men’s cancer awareness and help fund cancer research through charities that support the cause. The movements have since evolved into a full force men’s health campaign, raising awareness for not only prostate cancer but all types of cancer including testicular, colorectal and bladder. Discussions have also been started on other important men’s health topics that are often difficult to address. These can range from low testosterone and sexual dysfunction to high blood pressure, high cholesterol and obesity. There has also been a much-needed emphasis on psychological health, including topics of depression, substance abuse, and suicide.
The movements have gained traction through social media and continue to improve annual awareness. The result? More and more men visiting their health care providers. Guys coming to see us means more prostate and testicular cancers diagnosed early and treated earlier with better outcomes. It means depression diagnosed before the unthinkable. It means better high blood pressure and cholesterol management to prevent that heart attack, stroke or kidney failure. It means ordering a brain scan for that persistent headache with left sided weakness that would have diagnosed that brain tumor earlier. This is a huge step in men’s health, changing the male perception of medicine.
The movements have started to bridge the gap between our stoic grandfather’s perception of medicine and our own. If you could ask your grandfather, right now, “When should you go to the doctor?” What do you think he would say? Odds are, in his post-war mindset, he would likely compare illness to weakness, and liken emotional instability with vulnerability. He was raised in a time where expressing physical complaints and discussing emotions were taboo. Which, retrospectively, could be why he unnecessarily struggled with a very treatable illness. We need to convert this generational perception of weakness and vulnerability to one of prevention and healthiness. It is imperative for our health and the health of our loved ones.
Stubbornness is not hereditary. Be the difference!
It’s OK to be sad or angry and need help to overcome the emotions. It’s OK to have testicular pain and get anxious about possible causes. It’s OK use a medication to help you stop smoking or with your erectile dysfunction. None of these make you less of a man, and fortunately, all of them are treatable. You just have to start the conversation. So, get to your MD, PA or NP (we are all on the same team). Go to your clinic or get things started with LoginClinics via our easy to use telemedicine platform. Address these matters and keep the Movember movement going this year.
Remember: If you see your fellow beard growing, mustache waxing, masculine brethren on the street:
1) Compliment him on his awesome facial hair.
2) Open the discussion about men’s health – go out on a limb and ask him if he got his PSA* this year, if he’s checked his blood pressure lately or if he supports any of the men’s health charities. Maybe it falls of deaf ears or maybe it saves a life. Support men’s health!
#GroAMo #Movember #JoinTheMo-Ment #NoShaveNovember
*PSA: “Prostate-specific antigen”- a blood test used to screen for prostate cancer
Author: Justin Bordeaux, PA-C