Movember is upon us. It’s an entire month dedicated to raising awareness of cancer prevention in men. In a 30-day effort to “change the face of men’s health” you may notice men sporting moustaches and varying degrees of facial hair throughout November.
Also called no-shave November, Movember aims to generate conversation around men’s health and cancer prevention. Since men are more reluctant than women to seek medical help early on, raising awareness about detection is a priority. This is a perfect opportunity to be supportive and encourage the men in your life to take proactive steps towards overall health and regular check-ups.
Four Big Risks for Men
Did you know, the top 4 cancers in men are prostate, lung, colorectal, and bladder? Sadly, many of these cancers often do not show symptoms until later stages. And some symptoms may be brushed off as, “it will go away.” Prostate cancer is particularly serious. One in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime. An estimated 29,000 people will die of prostate cancer this year, according to the Prostate Cancer Foundation, meaning it accounts for about 5 percent of all cancer deaths.
However, doctors can screen for early signs of prostate cancer with prostate-specific antigen testing, which can detect elevated levels of a protein in the blood that may indicate prostate cancer.
What Can You Do?
Experts recommend men should schedule annual check-ups and screening tests. For men between 15 and 35, that means a periodic doctor’s testicular exam along with regular self-exams. All men older than 50 should have regular screening for colon cancer, and they should make an informed decision about testing for prostate cancer. Screening tests can help detect malignancies in the earliest stages, but you should always be alert for symptoms of the disease.
Screening tests can also reveal your risk factors. Age, race, family history, and lifestyle choices can also contribute to your chances of developing these cancers.
The Good News
With all these health risks for men, the good news is that finding out about cancer early on drastically increases your odds of successful treatment. Movember may be a reason to put away the razor for 30 days, but the practice of a healthy lifestyle and preventative care should last all year long.
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