Last month I wrote and reminded readers about October being breast cancer awareness month. So to be fair this month I am reminding readers about November being men’s health awareness month. No shave November began as a discussion between two friends in a bar about how they can raise awareness for health issues that directly affect men.
The official No-Shave November movement encourages men (and women) to donate the money they would have otherwise spent on shaving-related products and services to the American Cancer Society. The goal of the no-shave foundation is to encourage people of both genders to embrace their hair and let it grow wild and free. Because hair is often lost by most cancer patients and can be a difficult side effect of treatments for most people to cope with. The foundation which began this movement does not have any set rules on how to participate. They understand there are some employers that may require a certain dress code and some professions for health reasons which may limited an individual’s participation in a month long event such as No Shave November. In these cases the foundation encourages making a financial contribution of any size in order to further guide the research process and it hopes to one day find a cure for such men’s cancers such as prostate cancer.
Movember is a different cause with a similar goal in mind. This foundation was also created in Australia in 2003. This month long campaign asks its participants to grow a large curly western style mustache and it donates all funds raised to programs designed to assist in male health issues such as prostate cancer and testicular cancer. These programs can be programs that offer a wig for a reduced fee. Programs like fighting cancer where a local cancer patient can receive assistance with medical bills, or even things like food and transportation costs. Women are also encouraged to participate by making a donation, verbally promoting the cause, and some may say more importantly striking up the conversation about men’s health with men in their lives. This foundation has grown to include not just prostate cancer, but testicular cancer, depression and suicide prevention. This foundation address both physical and mental health issues that are attacking men all over the world at increasingly rapid rates. Men continue to visit the doctor less often then females and seek social counseling services less often then females. Yet the rate at which a male is being stricken with a male form of cancer is not lessening. We have better, more informative educational programs out there. We have better medical interventions available but the rate of suicide among men is not dropping. We need to encourage an environment or a program like Movember in order to continue the research and continue the growth and hopefully someday find a cure for male cancers.
So men it’s November. Are you going to stop shaving? Why? Because this is the month you can get away with it? No? To save money? No? Because you read about this cause today? Maybe. And more importantly, are you going to talk with your significant others, and or your doctor about your health? Prostate cancer is growing rapidly on Long Island and this should not be treated as a taboo topic but rather an open dialogue, a regular dialogue so we can save as many men as possible. Let’s keep the conversation going and I promise next month not to write about cancer again.
As always, yours in Healing, Dr. Rachel Lys, DPT