During the month of November, we turn our attention from National Breast Cancer Awareness Month to a different cause - men’s physical and mental health. As an official global charity, Movember is on a mission to help men break the barriers and talk about their health by raising funds and awareness for prostate and testicular cancer. Across the world, men are growing their facial hair in support of an international outreach program that has raised over $147 million to date. Even if you can’t grow a mustache, get involved this Movember in a fun, collaborative, and innovative approach that is changing the face of men’s health.

The State of Men’s Health

In the U.S., one in two men will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. One in six of these cases are prostate cancer, the most frequently occurring cancer in men. Prostate cancer is seen most often in men aged 65 or older, and it is rare to be seen under the age of 40. For younger men aged 15 to 35, testicular cancer is more a cause for concern, although the chance of developing it is much lower, about one in 270 (ACS, 2013). Prostate and testicular cancer are highly treatable if detected early, yet men are 56 percent less likely to visit the doctor for any reason, utilizing half as many preventative care visits than women (Moss, 2012). Many premature deaths among men are preventable, and each of us can help by expanding our knowledge of the health risks men face.

Staying Active to Reduce Your Risks

It’s no secret that regular physical activity can improve your health by helping to control weight and maintain healthy bones and tissues, as well as reduce the risk of developing heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. Did you know that regular exercise may also reduce the risk of certain cancers?   On many levels, exercise helps us to be physically and mentally well, but it is also possible that men who are physically active experience a reduction in the risk of cancer related to changes in hormone efficiency, energy balance, insulin sensitivity, and improved immunity (NCI, 2009). 

Getting Involved in Movember

In 2012, over a million men and women participated in Movember events that included 5k runs, gala parties and, of course, the growing of the mustache.  This year, no shortage of opportunities exist in raising awareness for men’s health, whether it be in the workplace, in your community, on campus, or in your own home. To get started, head over to the Movember website and register as an individual or part of a team to create your own donation page that allows you to spread the word about your involvement, as well as keep track of special events to network with participants in your area. Here, you will find tips on how to get involved, by creating network challenges or even hosting your own event. The possibilities are endless, and the contributions are invaluable in fueling conversations about men’s health.

Sarah Dalton is the founder of Able Mind Able Body, a Las Vegas based company offering motivational lifestyle coaching and personal training services.  She takes a holistic approach to healthy living, and educates others on the benefits of nutrition, exercise, and emotional health.  Visit www.ablemindablebody.com for more info.