Men's Health Movember
Updated: Feb 6
The month of November often has you seeing moustaches more than ever. This is to raise awareness for men's health. Men on average die 6 years earlier than women mainly due to preventable reasons. Men are less likely than women to seek medical attention for most problems they have. Research suggests that COVID-19 has lead to this increasing, unsurprisingly. As times get tougher due to COVID-19 and mental health worsens men are particularly at risk. The growing of moustaches during November in an event known as Movember which aims to bring awareness to all health risks faced by men in an attempt to improve stats.
This year the Movember event is focusing on men's mental health. While there is still a certain taboo about mental health, awareness of mental health issues has improved in recent years. However, men in particular are not only less likely to seek professional help if they are struggling, they are also less likely to talk about it with their friends and family. This likely contributes to the fact that men account for 75% of all suicides. Men are often brought up to be strong and sayings such as 'man up' and 'stiff upper lip' many fear that opening up will make them seem weak. However, one of the strongest things a person can do is be brave enough to open up despite their fears. Opening up could also give others around you who are suffering the confidence to speak up.
A simple way to help one another is to talk, not just casual, fun talking, but talk about real and meaningful things. Any changes in behaviour may be a sign that someone is feeling low. If you notice a change there is likely something wrong and if this persists for long periods of time they could be very low and possibly suicidal. In the case you notice anything it can be hard and awkward to bring it up but it can be life saving. You can help by simply asking how they genuinely are, this may require a bit of probing and mentioning you've noticed some changes for them to actually open up but be careful not to make them feel too uncomfortable. If they are still not opening up, that's ok, they may not feel comfortable talking about it yet, but make sure they know you are there for them and they may come to you when they are ready. If you know they are going through something tough but seem fine, there is no harm in checking in anyway. Once you've asked them how they are you should listen to them. Try and give them you undivided attention at that moment in time. You shouldn't feel the need to offer advice or diagnose their problems. Simply being there and listening can help. You can encourage them to talk to other people they trust or seek professional help. You should also check-in on them regularly if you can, ideally this would be in person but a phone call would do. If you'd like more information there are plenty of resources online.
Testicular cancer is the most common cancer found in young men. Men with undescended testes at birth, or who have a family history are at an increased risk. If you have had testicular cancer before there is also a high chance it will come back. The best way to tell if you have testicular cancer is to feel for it. It is good to know what you testicles feel like (hopefully) without cancer so you can notice any changes. Therefore you should regularly check them so you can notice any changes as soon as possible. As soon as you notice something you should contact your doctor for a check up. It may be nothing in which case your doctor will be happy for you and glad your keeping an eye on it, if it is something there are many ways to treat it and like all cancers, the earlier you catch it the better.
Prostate cancer is another big health risk to men. Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men. The risk of prostate cancer increases with age, but it is not exclusive to old men. The risk increases in black men and those with family history of prostate cancer. Most men should get a PSA (prostate specific antigen) test at 50 or at 45 if they are at increased risk. The test is a simple blood test to measure the PSA levels in their blood. Like all cancers, catching it early is key. Not everyone will experience symptoms of prostate cancer, making it even more important to get checked. Those who do experience symptoms will likely notice changes in their urinary or sexual functions. This includes urinating more frequently, painful or burning urination, difficulty having an erection and painful ejaculation. Further symptoms to look out for can be found online. If you experience any of these problems you should contact your doctor.
Movember aims to bring awareness to these issues that affect men's average life expectancy. It is taking action for men to live healthier and happier lives. the main things to do are, talk more, move more, check your nuts and know the numbers. For those who cant grow a moustache, or simply don't want to, there is still many ways to get involved. This year many have been doing 60km over the month to raise money for the 60 men who are lost to suicide each hour. You can also donate any money you can to the cause. You can also talk more to your male friends and express any concerns you may have.