Embrace the Awkward: Let’s Talk About Prostates

By Jon Mooney, Assistant Director of Health

Each November, men’s health is given the spotlight as we celebrate MOvember. MOvember — a combination of the word mustache and November — uses facial hair to encourage men to be aware of and do something about some of the specific health issues that may affect them. This year’s theme is “Shaping a Movement,” and is meant to inspire men to use MOvember as an opportunity to begin a year-round journey toward improving their health and to inspire others to do the same.

This year, I’m encouraging men to start this journey with me by talking about something that can make us uncomfortable — the prostate. The prostate is located deep inside the groin of males. But while the prostate plays an important role in reproduction, it can also cause problems, especially later in life. Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer found in American men. In fact, just this year, the Prostate Cancer Foundation expects there to be nearly 270,000 American men diagnosed with it. That’s a diagnosis every two minutes. And sadly, almost 35,000 men will die from prostate cancer this year.

It’s statistics like these that have me encouraging other men to embrace the awkward and learn more about their prostate. While any man can get prostate cancer, the chances increase with age and with a family history — which is another reason it’s important to me to talk about it. In 2020, my father was diagnosed with prostate cancer after it was found in the early stages during a routine screening. Thanks to that early diagnosis, my father was able to be treated with surgery and is now cancer-free.

Because I know I am more at risk due to this family history, I am paying more attention to things I can do to help protect myself. Fortunately, the lifestyle changes that we know are good for so much with our health help prevent prostate cancer too — things like eating healthy, exercising most days of the week, and managing stress by relaxing and enjoying life. And after seeing the benefit for my dad, I’ll work with my doctor to stay on top of prostate cancer screening.

While it’s an uncomfortable topic, I hope other men will do the same. Often, men don’t show symptoms of prostate cancer until it’s in the later stages. So don’t wait. Do One MO Thing to improve and protect your health this MOvember.

For more information about prostate health, visit the Prostate Cancer Foundation at www.pfc.org. And for more MOvember ideas, visit movembersgf.com.

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