Thursday, November 7, 2013

Stuff My Wife Says V

"I don't want to kiss you."

This is a little deceiving, Kate likes kissing me. Its just during November that she frowns over the idea of it.

But if we're OK, and she still likes me 11 months of the year, what's so special about November that she would have such strong feelings against kissing? Well, I'm glad you asked. November is the one month of the year that I grow a mustache. It's not a good mustache. She would probably tell you it's actually kind of sad. But I do it every November, and have for the last three years. She puts up with it though, for these four weeks every year, because its for a good cause.

There are some who call it, #Movember. It is the month of the mustache, and it is focused on raising awareness for men's health issues. I figured, since I'm a man, maybe I should take notice.

Movember started in Australia in 2003, where the common slang term for a 'stache was "mo" and it has grown every year since, raising money and awareness for the health issues facing men today. Some of the biggest challenges being prostate and testicular cancer as well as mental health challenges.

But why is this such a big deal? Why would I grow a mustache (no matter how sad) and risk my wonderful wife refusing to kiss me? I grow first for the men in my life, my dad, my son and myself. But I also grow to help create conversation about our health.

Men historically do not take as good of care of themselves as women. We're a stubborn breed, one which will finish a project after smashing our fingers with a hammer, only to find later that we knocked the nail right off. We refuse to talk about our feelings, self medicate, and cringe at the idea that we may not be the shining examples of health and fitness that we were in high school. Men die at a younger age than women (five years younger on average!) If I can help change the perception of health care for men, by putting a fun, perhaps quirky twist on the issue, then my kissless month has been worth it.

The facts are out there, you can find them if you look, and they're pretty serious. One in every two men will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime, millions die from tobacco use each year, over 6 million men are diagnosed with depression every year... and the numbers go on and on. The challenge of Movember lies in making a difference to those numbers.

Lets look at prostate cancer, for example. One in every 6 men will get prostate cancer in their lives, and 30,000 men will die from it this year alone. It is the second highest cancer in men (behind skin cancer) and also the second highest cancer killer in men. But, by simply finding it early, prostate cancer is one of the most treatable cancers around. By finding it early, in other words, before the cancer cells spread from your prostate, your chance of surviving the next five years is 100 percent.

Besides early screening, you can also take active steps to decrease your risk of prostate cancer, and I'm not gonna lie, they're pretty awesome.

  • Drink more coffee - Men who drink coffee regularly are 59% less likely to get advanced prostate cancer than those who skip their morning jump juice.
  • Have more sex - Men who have more sex (20 orgasms a month) have a 30% lower incidence of prostate cancer than those who have only 4-7.
  • Eat more Eggplant Parmesan - Not that you have to have this dish in particular, (but you might as well have the best). Cooked tomatoes have great amounts of lycopene, which works to reduce your risk.
  • Exercise more - 5 or more hours a week of vigorous exercise can reduce your risk of death from Prostate cancer by 56 percent!

It doesn't stop there. Depression, high blood pressure, diabetes, suicide, testicular cancer, these are all health issues men face. The more knowledge we have, the better prepared we can be to affect change to the numbers on each issue. So, please help make my sacrifice worth it, and talk to the men you know about their health. Call your doctor and set up a physical. Ask what you can do to lead a healthier life.

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