By Allan Bucka Jones
Pride Health Columnist
The average life expectancy for Canadian men is four years less than women. Many men try to maintain a tough guy image, and oftentimes neglect their health until it is too late.
The Movember Foundation, every year, during the 30 days of November, aims to change this way of thinking by putting a fun twist on the serious issue of men’s health.
Using the moustache as a catalyst, the idea is to bring about change and give men the opportunity and confidence to learn and talk about their health and take action when needed.
The process recommended, is for men without moustache to grow one in November, and for those already sporting a moustache to shave it off and regrow it during November. Through the power of the moustache, vital funds and awareness of men’s health issues, primarily prostate cancer, testicular cancer and mental health challenges are achieved.
The Movember Foundation is a global men’s health movement, which started in Melbourne, Australia in 2003, with the ambition to contribute to improving the lives of men around the world, through programs that are funded in the areas of Awareness & Education, Living with Cancer, Research and Mental Health.
This month as we celebrate Movember, it is a good opportunity to be reminded of prostate cancer, testicular cancer and men’s mental health issues.
At age 40 it is recommended that all men do a baseline prostate specific antigen (PSA) blood test to screen for prostate cancer.
There is a significant increase in the risk of developing prostate cancer in men with a family history of prostate cancer, and also as men get older. Black men, have an increased susceptibility to developing prostate cancer, and should be even more vigilant than other races. For screening purposes, the PSA and a digital rectal examination are recommended.
If you are over 40 and never done the two tests to screen for prostate cancer, speak to your family doctor about arranging for you to do the two screening tests.
Testicular cancer develops in the testicles. It is the second most common cancer in young men aged 15 to 29. It starts as an abnormal growth or tumor in one or both testicles. If detected early it has a cure rate of over 95%.
Self-examination and manipulation of the testicles are important to detect abnormal lumps which may be cancerous. Also, ask your family doctor to include testicular examination during the yearly physical.
Regarding mental health, research has shown that men are less likely to get treatment for a mental health issue compared to females. Among the findings, is the revelation that new fathers are also vulnerable to postpartum depression.
Middle aged men in Canada are being hospitalized for schizophrenia in increasing numbers. The greatest evidence of men’s mental health vulnerability is in suicide statistics.
Among Canadians of all ages, four out of every five suicides are male. In the United Kingdom, men are three times more likely to kill themselves than women. We need to encourage more mental health dialogue to reduce or eliminate the stigma associated with the illness, so men are more encouraged to talk about what they are feeling and welcome medical intervention.
There is a lot to be done beyond the month of November. It is up to us to ensure that men’s health issues remain a priority.
Men, take the first steps, talk to your doctor about the prostate cancer screening, ask about testicular cancer, and engage your doctor in a discussion about your feelings and mental health.
It is your health…take control.
Allan Bucka Jones is a Health Promoter and Broadcaster. He can be heard on “Allan Bucka Jones LIVE”, Sundays from 3 to 5pm on CHRY 105.5 FM, CHRY RADIO App, www.chry.fm option RDO.to , Rogers Digital Cable 945, Bell Fibe 973 or mobile app TuneIn Radio. You can contact Allan Bucka Jones at email@example.com.