I had always thought that the whole Mo-vember thing was just an excuse for guys to not have to shave. It wasn’t until 2 years ago when I did my first Movember posts (Happy Mo-vember and Goodbye Movember) that I learned there was more to it than I thought. After several people liked and commented on my posts, I started looking at what they were posting and bloging. What I found was that Movember is a movement to raise awareness for men’s health issues. Check out Movember.com for excellent information on this movement. Among the most serious issues are prostate, colon, and testicular cancers. Some of these are preventable by just getting screened. From the Movember website:
“Globally, men die on average 6 years earlier than women, and for largely preventable reasons.”
So, what is the major issue? Why do we need a whole month dedicated to men’s health concerns. Well, a big part of the problem is that men are simply unwilling to go in for screenings. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, women are 33 percent more likely to visit a doctor than men. They also indicated that:
“The rate of doctor visits for such reasons as annual examinations and preventive services was 100 percent higher for women than for men…”
This is a big problem. Honestly, I need the reminder and encouragement as much as anyone. I avoid going to the doctor myself, and this is why I will be letting my beard grow this month (and I’ll show you the end results). If you’re a man and you see my beard this month, let it remind you have your self checked. If you’re a woman, let it remind you to encourage the men in your life to get checked.
Who, Where, & When?
How do you know what to get checked, how soon, and how often? According to Web MD some doctors recommend checking your testicles once a month and others once a year. Either way, you should do a self-exam on a regular basis between the ages of 15 and 40. Their website has a self-exam “step-by-step” if you’re unsure of what to do. While 50 percent of testicular cancer cases occur in men ages 15-44, there is not need to stop self-exams if you are older.
For both the prostate exam and colonoscopy, the recommendation is from 50 and over. Unless you are at a higher risk, then it should start earlier. From the American Cancer Society, you are higher risk for colon cancer if you have:
- A personal history of colorectal cancer or certain types of polyps
- A family history of colorectal cancer
- A personal history of inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease)
- A confirmed or suspected hereditary colorectal cancer syndrome, such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or Lynch syndrome (hereditary non-polyposis colon cancer or HNPCC)
- A personal history of getting radiation to the abdomen (belly) or pelvic area to treat a prior cancer
If you don’t have any of these risk factors, get a colonoscopy at 50 and then every 10 years, if your risk factors don’t change. If you are at higher risk, start at 45 and have one every 5 years.
- Age 50 for men who are at average risk of prostate cancer and are expected to live at least 10 more years.
- Age 45 for men at high risk of developing prostate cancer. This includes African Americans and men who have a first-degree relative (father, brother, or son) diagnosed with prostate cancer at an early age (younger than 65).
- Age 40 for men at even higher risk (those with more than one first-degree relative who had prostate cancer at an early age).
Whatever you age and no matter your level of risk, I hope all of you will take your health seriously. Get adequate rest, eat a balanced & nutritious diet, get a moderate amount of exercise weekly, visit your Chiropractor often, and get cancer screenings when recommended.