Do you know someone who has grown out their mustache for “No-Shave” November? Its meaning goes deeper than just their hair follicles! All over the world, people grow out their mustaches in November to raise awareness for male health, especially when it comes to prostate cancer. Whether you grow out your own mustache or support a man in your life as he sprouts new scruff, you can start up a conversation about prostate health today that might even save a life!
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men, with about 13 in every 100 men developing it in their life. Age and genetics are both contributing factors, but there are no definitive causes that would make any single population more likely to have it. That means it’s important for everyone to talk about it, even though it may make some uncomfortable.
Here are some ideas on how to get the conversation started in your own family about prostate health.
Talk about screening openly
In some other types of cancer, the screening methods are a part of regular conversations. Breast cancer, especially, has a screening method that is frequently discussed – mammograms. Detection of this cancer is becoming more frequent, and earlier, because of these conversations, and through that treatment is becoming even more effective. You can help do the same for prostate cancer. If you schedule a prostate cancer screening for yourself, help break taboos among your family and friends by talking about it openly. You don’t need to post it on social media, but mentioning it candidly in conversation can help make it as routine as talking about your visit to the dentist, and encourage others to schedule a screening of their own.
Help break stereotypes about male health
Several symptoms of prostate cancer in men can involve sexual health problems. Because of the private nature of these symptoms, men can often let their cancer go undiagnosed. This is made worse by widely accepted jokes and stereotypes about problems these men may encounter, such as erectile dysfunction, increased need to urinate, and painful or difficult urination. If you hear people making jokes about these types of problems, counteract them by reminding them that they are often symptoms of bigger health issues, and should be discussed with a doctor.
Plan a Prostate Health Awareness Event
Men’s Health Month, the organization responsible for “No Shave November,” has a variety of ideas you can do to host your own Prostate Health Awareness Event. From simple acts like encouraging your family to wear blue for men’s health, or hosting a virtual 5k, there are lots of ways to support prostate cancer survivors and encourage prevention. Ask a survivor or family member to speak on the importance of getting screened. You can even challenge your friends and family to a contest to see who can grow the longest mustache this month!
However, you plan to spread awareness of Prostate health, start by talking with your family members about their own plans for screening and prevention. Even if you only make a difference in one person’s life, the benefits of their own experience can ripple out and reach even more!