Michael T Callaghan, MD

November 14th, 2014

Movember, commonly referred to as No-Shave-November, is when men and women across the globe join together to raise awareness and funds for men’s health issues – specifically prostate and testicular cancer initiatives. This month, as beards and moustaches become more prominent, Movember aims to change the ‘face’ of men’s health by putting a hairy twist on some serious issues.

According to cancer.org, “about 1 man in 7 will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime.” And the National Cancer Institute estimates 233,000 new cases will be diagnosed in the US in 2014 and 29,480 deaths will occur due to prostate cancer.

Prostate cancer statistics are hair-raising, in part, because prostate cancer is unlike most other cancers. There isn’t a visible abnormality. It’s difficult to diagnose because it’s silent. Men commonly do not experience any glaring symptoms in the early stages. Furthermore, some prostate cancers can be deadly, but others can cause minimal problems creating more confusion. Fortunately, with increased awareness through movements such as Movember, education and prostate cancer testing, it is increasingly likely that more men will be diagnosed in the early stages. If detected and treated early, there is a 97 percent success rate if treatment is pursued.

In addition to prostate cancer, men should also be aware of some other health issues. The most common cancer in males between the ages of 15 and 35 is testicular cancer. It is estimated that 7,920

men will be diagnosed with testicular cancer and 370 will die in 2013. Furthermore, 13 million men over the age of 20 have diabetes, 6 million men are diagnosed with depression each year and 24 percent of men are less likely to go to the doctor compared to women.

Unless a man develops a chronic condition as a child, such as asthma, he is likely to forgo routine physical examinations. Many men wait until they are faced with a health crisis or until someone pushes them to make an appointment. In additional to raising awareness about male specific cancers, the Movember movement stresses the need for men to maintain an ongoing relationship with their primary care physician and to schedule annual exams and routine screenings. Men need to be aware of any family history of cancer, adopt a healthier lifestyle and educate themselves on common health concerns including cancers, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and depression.

While the statistics on men’s health and more specifically male specific cancers are indeed startling, the level of awareness, understanding and support for men’s health, specifically prostate and testicular cancer lags significantly behind that of women’s health causes. As we pass through October and breast cancer awareness month, we redouble our efforts to save lives and reduce the number of preventable deaths among men. I am proud to actively participate in Movember, even if, as my wonderful wife points out, I might have a bit too much grey.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with prostate, testicular or another type of cancer, Portneuf Cancer Center is here for you and your family. Treating cancer patients, for all of us at Portneuf Cancer Center, is more than just health care. We want to offer our patients faster, gentler, yet highly effective treatments that improve, prolong and even save lives. By pioneering significant innovations and clinical solutions for treating cancer, we are helping to advance the standard of human care.

Portneuf Cancer Center

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