Grow Your Mustaches Gents, It's Movember!

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The mustaches are the symbolic equivalent of the pink ribbons associated with breast cancer awareness. Let's help the men in our lives take control of their health – and fight against preventable diseases. 

Men.  They are the yin to my yang, the jelly to my peanut butter, the Sonny to my Cher.  You get my point.  Aside from being a big fan, I am also a mom to a little boy which makes it that much more important to ensure that no man succumbs to any illnesses that could have been prevented.  The month of November, or “Movember” (fusion of moustache - European spelling - and November) - is an annual campaign that encourages men to grow out their mustaches to spread awareness regarding issues affecting men’s health.  The mustaches are the symbolic equivalent of the pink ribbons associated with breast cancer awareness.

According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) men average five years shorter lifespan than women and have higher mortality rates from cancer and heart disease.  Movember aims to reduce the number of premature deaths in men by 25 percent by the year 2030.  To achieve this goal, the emphasis will be early cancer detection, diagnosis and effective treatments for diseases such as prostate and testicular cancer, mental health and suicide prevention.

A visit to the DHHS Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) provides a blueprint based on recommendations published by the United States Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) - a panel of experts that provide evidence-based recommendations for clinical preventive services - to ensure the best health outcomes:

  • Screening:

    • Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm - for men between 65-75 years of age who have ever smoked

    • Colon Cancer - starting at age 50

    • Depression

    • Diabetes

    • Hepatitis C Virus - especially important for those born between 1945 - 1965

    • High cholesterol

    • High Blood Pressure

    • Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)

    • Lung cancer

    • Overweight and obesity

  • Getting preventive medicines (if applicable)

    • Aspirin

    • Vitamin D

    • Immunizations

      • Annual flu shots

      • Shingles - if 65 years of age or older

      • Pneumonia vaccine - if 65 years of age or older

      • Tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis booster shot if last one was more than ten years ago

  • Taking steps to good health

    • Being physically healthy and choosing healthy foods

    • Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight

    • Quit smoking

    • Curb drinking to no more than two drinks per day for those less than 65 years of age and only one per day for those older than 65 years of age

Two items missing from this list are prostate cancer and testicular cancer.  After careful consideration of risks versus benefits of screening, the USPSTF does not recommend routine screening for prostate cancer. However, men between the ages of 55-69 should be offered screening after having a careful discussion with the physician regarding family history, risks versus benefits of screening, and personal preference.  No screening is recommended for men older than 70 years of age.

Currently, there are also no recommendations for routine testicular cancer screening.  Most are often found by men either incidentally, by self-exams or physical exams performed by a physician. Most testicular cancers, thankfully, are curable at any stage.

Use this Movember to motivate the men in your life to take ownership of their health and see their doctor.