Moustache Season

Everybody who has been awake for the last decade knows what a pink ribbon is for, right?  Every October, we’re inundated with pink everything, from pink M&Ms to pink panthers (Ok, I exaggerate slightly).  I’m sure that the Susan G. Komen foundation  (now known as Susan G. Komen for the Cure® ) does good work, but I have some personal differences with several of their practices.  I leave it to you to decide how you feel about the foundation and their work.  What a lot of people don’t know is that breast cancer is not a woman-only issue.  Men can be diagnosed with breast cancer as well, but that’s not often talked about.

Something else that is not often talked about is men’s health, in general.  Did you know that men live an average of 5 years less than do women.  But do you want to hear something really surprising?

Almost as many men die from prostate cancer every year as women die from breast cancer.  According to the American Cancer Society, about 33,720 men will die of prostate cancer in 2011.  That’s 1 in 36 mend diagnosed with it.  Moreover, almost 241,000 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year (American Cancer Society, 2011), while 231,000 women will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer (American Cancer Society, 2011).

Let me say that again, in another way:

More men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer than women will be with breast cancer.

But when is the last time that you heard anyone talk about male-only health problems?  If you’re like most people, the answer will be “never.”  Men don’t talk about their health problems for the most part.  It’s not important enough, or it’s too embarrassing, or it makes us feel/appear weak.  It’s just a little difficult to pee, it’ll get better, right?  The sad truth is that no, it will probably NOT get better on it’s own.

That’s what leads me to “mustache season” this year.  I have chosen to participate in “Movember” this year, and put a face on men’s health, so to speak.  Throughout the month of November, men around the world are standing together and doing something that women can’t:  Grow a mustache and use it as a springboard to talk about men’s health issues.  Additionally, I am working with a team of other men in the United States (several of whom are prostate cancer survivors) in order to raise money to be used in funding partners in research for men’s health such as the Prostate Cancer Foundation and LIVESTRONG, the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

There is no excuse for us men to remain in the dark and silent about our health.  We owe it to our children, friends, and partners to look after our health.  More importantly, though, we owe it to ourselves.

Brothers, mind your health.  Get screened.  Don’t ignore problems.  Ladies, tell the men in your lives that you care enough about him to want him around for years to come.  Encourage him to look after himself.

If you are a man or know a man, please consider donating to the Movember project at my “Mo bro” page.  Any amount is welcome, even as little as a single dollar.  If you want more information, please leave me a message and I’ll do what I can to find an answer.

I invite and encourage you visit the Movember website and look around.  What you find might surprise you.