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Movember - How to Support Men's Illnesses

November 3, 2015 | Dr. Mary Williams, RN, DC | Comments

The Fu Manchu, the handlebar, the horseshoe… how do you wear your mo'? Movember is officially upon us! Men across the country are embracing a little extra lip insulation throughout the month of November to raise awareness for male-specific illnesses like prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and mental illness. Most importantly, the Movember movement is intended to advocate for men to embrace regular health screenings to increase early detection for these serious illnesses. Don't worry, ladies: There's plenty you can do to also get involved with Movember without growing your own moustache. Let's go over some basic ways men and women can make their Movember memorable and remind the gents about the importance of specific screenings to make sure they stay informed about their health.

Knowledge is Power: The Importance of Early Detection

At the very center of Movember is the message that early screenings increase and safeguard your overall health. For men in particular, there are a few key take-away points to remember in order to keep yourself informed about your physical well-being:

1. Know Your Numbers

That means regularly getting a physical and making sure you know your Body Mass Index (BMI), your weight, your waistline measurement, your blood pressure, your HDL (healthy cholesterol), your LDL (unhealthy cholesterol), and your blood glucose. All it takes is a physical with your primary-care physician!

2. Know Your Family Health History

One of the best things you can do is make an effort to know your family's health history. It's one of the most vital things you can do to help maintain your health, and all you need to do is talk to your family members. Find out if you have any illnesses or genetic predispositions that a direct family member may have (like heart disease or high cholesterol). Bring this information to your physical, and it will help your doctor recommend screenings to make sure they keep an eye on any areas that could become problematic.

3. Get Screened

You know that prevention is the best medicine, and regular health screenings for cancer and other problems mean a greater chance for early detection that could save your life and prevent long-term damage. Men should make it a point to regularly get the following screenings:

  • Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) Test: A screening test that measures the amount of PSA in the blood. High PSA could indicate prostate cancer.
  • Digital Rectal Exam: Definitely not fun, but doctors or nurses physically palpate your prostate to feel for lumps or other abnormalities.
  • Testicular Self-Exam: Similar to the way a woman would conduct a breast exam, this screening you can do at home after your bath or shower. You feel each testicle between your thumb and fingers looking for hard lumps or nodules as well as any changes in size shape or consistency.
  • Mental Health Screenings: Definitely take time to evaluate your mental health with a home screening questionnaire or with your primary during your physical. Especially if you have a history of mental illness like depression or anxiety, early detection can help you get valuable information on managing or overcoming any difficulties you might be having.

Excited? Want to participate? Here are some ways gents and ladies can make the most of their Movember:

How "Mo' Bros" (Men) Can Participate:

  • Movember is all about the "mo'" (the moustache). Starting on November 1st, clean-shaven men participating make a pledge to grow out their moustache for the entire month of Movember (no beards).
  • Men can register and take the Movember pledge online at the Movember website to make it official.
  • Additionally, you can have friends and family sponsor your mo' to raise money!
  • Don't "mo' it" alone! Enlist other male friends to help grow their own Movember mo'!
  • Have fun with Movember-themed parties like a "shave the date" event on November 1st to make sure you start Movember totally clean-shaven. Throughout the month, you can attend Movember events and even host your own party with a free Movember party pack! Don't forget the final Movember Gala November 29th and 30th, where you dress up in costume to fit the style of your mo'. Check out locations for the gala via the Movember website.

How "Mo' Sistas" (Women) Can Participate:

  • No mo'? No problem! The best thing you can do is support a guy who is growing his mo' out this month. Show him some love; encourage and cheer him on!
  • Sign up on the Movember website and make your participation official.
  • Join a Movember team! Recruit family, friends, or schoolmates and create or join your own Movember team to help increase your ability to raise funds!
  • You don't need a mo' to raise dough! You can ask for donations online, too.
  • Celebrate with your other Movember participants by attending Movember parties.

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