November 14, 2020 5 min read

Last month we talked about Pink October, or the Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a month where we try to educate about breast cancer, including early identification and signs and symptoms associated with breast cancer.

Well, now November has started and that means millions of men will be growing their facial hair into an array of fantastical designs to raise awareness of men’s health problems including prostate cancer, testicular cancer and mental health.

That's why is so important to us to bring attention to MOVEMBER! The Movember Foundation runs the Movember charity event, housed at Movember.com.

Men all around the world are facing a health crisis, yet it’s rarely talked about. Men are dying too young. Globally, testicular cancer is the most common cancer among men aged 15-39 years of age. And across the world, one man dies by suicide every minute of every day, with males accounting for 75% of all suicides.

Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men in the United States. Globally, more than 1.3 million men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year.

Across the country, there are more than 3 million men living with and beyond the disease. Many are dealing with serious side effects from treatment.

Did you know that globally, on average, 1 man dies by suicide every minute of every day? In the US, the rate of male suicide is alarmingly high: 3 out of 4 suicides are men.

Men's Health: Prevent the top threats

As it happens with breast cancer, the key to improving men's health is prevention. Helping men know the signs, symptoms and risk factors for prostate cancer & testicular cancer, as well as focusing on suicide prevention, early intervention and health promotion can make ALL the difference.

You can start by making better lifestyle choices. For example:

  • Don't smoke. If you do smoke or use other tobacco products, ask your doctor to help you quit. Avoid exposure to secondhand smoke, air pollution and chemicals, such as those in the workplace.
  • Eat a healthy diet. Choose vegetables, fruits, whole grains, high-fiber foods and lean sources of protein, such as fish. Limit foods high in saturated and trans fats, and foods with added sugar and sodium.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Losing excess pounds — and keeping them off — can lower your risk of heart disease as well as various types of cancer.
  • Get moving. Exercise can help you control your weight, lower your risk of heart disease and stroke and possibly lower your risk of certain types of cancer. Choose activities you enjoy, such as tennis, basketball or brisk walking. All physical activity benefits your health.
  • Limit alcohol. If you choose to drink alcohol, do so only in moderation. That means up to two drinks a day if you are age 65 or younger and one drink a day if you are older than age 65. The risk of various types of cancer, such as liver cancer, appears to increase with the amount of alcohol you drink and the length of time you've been drinking regularly. Too much alcohol can also raise your blood pressure and increase your risk of heart attack and stroke.
  • Manage stress. If you feel constantly on edge or under pressure, your lifestyle habits may suffer — and so might your immune system. Take steps to reduce stress — or learn to deal with stress in healthy ways.

Don't wait to visit the doctor until something is seriously wrong. 

Keep an eye on signs and symptoms. The symptoms and signs of prostate cancer may include:

  • Frequent urination

  • Weak or interrupted urine flow or the need to strain to empty the bladder

  • The urge to urinate frequently at night

  • Blood in the urine

  • Blood in the seminal fluid

  • New onset of erectile dysfunction

  • Pain or burning during urination, which is much less common

  • Discomfort or pain when sitting, caused by an enlarged prostate

People with testicular cancer may experience a variety of symptoms or signs. Sometimes, men with testicular cancer do not have any of these changes. Or, the cause of a symptom may be a different medical condition that is not cancer. So, having these symptoms does not mean that a man definitely has cancer.

Usually, an enlarged testicle or a small lump or area of hardness are the first signs of testicular cancer. Any lump, enlargement, hardness, pain, or tenderness should be evaluated by a doctor as soon as possible. Other symptoms of testicular cancer usually do not appear until after the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.

Symptoms of testicular cancer may include:

  • A painless lump or swelling on either testicle. If found early, a testicular tumor may be about the size of a pea or a marble, but it can grow much larger.

  • Pain, discomfort, or numbness in a testicle or the scrotum, with or without swelling.

  • Change in the way a testicle feels or a feeling of heaviness in the scrotum. For example, 1 testicle may become firmer than the other testicle. Or testicular cancer may cause the testicle to grow bigger or to become smaller.

  • Dull ache in the lower abdomen or groin

  • Sudden buildup of fluid in the scrotum

  • Breast tenderness or growth. Although rare, some testicular tumors make hormones that cause breast tenderness or growth of breast tissue, a condition called gynecomastia.

  • Lower back pain, shortness of breath, chest pain, and bloody sputum or phlegm can be symptoms of later-stage testicular cancer.

  • Swelling of 1 or both legs or shortness of breath from a blood clot can be symptoms of testicular cancer. A blood clot in a large vein is called deep venous thrombosis or DVT. A blood clot in an artery in the lung is called a pulmonary embolism and causes shortness of breath. For some young or middle-aged men, developing a blood clot may be the first sign of testicular cancer.

Your doctor can be your best ally for maintaining health and preventing disease. Follow your doctor's treatment recommendations if you have health issues, such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure or diabetes. Also, ask your doctor about when to have preventive care such as cancer screenings, vaccinations and other health evaluations.

Suicide is another leading men's health risk. An important risk factor for suicide among men is depression. If you or your loved ones have signs and symptoms of depression — such as feeling sad or worthless and a loss of interest in normal activities — talk to the doctor. Treatment is available. If you're contemplating suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800-273-8255), call 911 or your local emergency number, or go to the nearest emergency room.

So, what's all that fuss about MOVEMBER?

Movember is the only global charity focused solely on men’s health. The Foundation raises funds to deliver innovative, breakthrough research and support programs that enable men to live happier, healthier, and longer lives. Awareness and fundraising activities are run year-round by the Foundation, with the annual Movember campaign being globally recognized for its fun, disruptive approach to fundraising and getting men to take action for their health.

During Movember, men are challenged to grow a moustache, and men and women can be physically active and move or host a fundraising event. Not only do these commitments raise vital funds, they also generate powerful and often life-changing conversations.

 

Had you heard of MOVEMBER before? Are you already growing your moustache? Share your best pics with us using #mozana.

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