Welcome to Moustache Season: #Movember and Men’s Health

Movember is Moustache SeasonI woke up this morning and looked in the mirror, only to find that my upper lip is sprouting a moustache.

My first thought was “What the . . . ? Who in the heck glued that fuzz below my nose? But then it all comes back to me. Oh yeah, it’s Movember. Moustache season.

Why would a guy like me commit to doing something so nutty as to bring back the iconic facial hair of the 70s, the moustache, to my face? Well, for starters, it drives my teenager bonkers, it makes my younger kids laugh, and it certainly catches other people’s attention.

But the biggest reason for me to grow a mo’ for Movember is the gender disparity in health awareness between men and women. Yup, we men don’t like to even think about health, much less talk with our friends and coworkers about it. And don’t even get me started on the issue of men going to the doctor to talk about their health issues.

Yet men have just as many health issues to face as women do, and the hard figures on those affected are astonishing:

  • 1 in 6 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime. In 2011, more than 240,000 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, and more than 33,000 men will die from prostate cancer.
  • A new prostate cancer case occurs every 2.2 minutes.
  • A man dies from prostate cancer every 15.6 minutes
  • 1 in 2 men will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime (compare to 1 in 3 women being diagnosed in their lifetime).
  • Prostate cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in men, and is the second-leading cause of cancer death in men.
  • Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in American males between the ages of 15 and 34, with 48% of testicular cancer cases occurring in men between the ages of 20 and 34.
  • An estimated 8.7 million adult men over the age of 20 in the US have diabetes- and a third of them do not know it.
  • Men commit suicide four times as often as women.

That’s pretty sobering.

We’re not he-men, we’re not blessed with supernatural health or longevity simply because we’re men, and we’re not immune to diseases or disorders because we’re guys. In fact, it may be the opposite, because we can’t swallow our damn pride and go see someone about our health. Which means that we suffer longer before we consult a doctor, and we may not be willing to make the lifestyle changes necessary to improve our health.

Last year I made a moustache related video (and crafted a daily moustache) every day of the month, but this year I’m a bit behind the curve. However, I was inspired to make this video a couple of days ago, in which I explain what Movember is about for me, and in which I share my dirty little secret:

So please help me to raise awareness and funds for men’s health with the Movember campaign by supporting my moustache! Some other things you can do are to sign up and participate for yourself, take responsibility for your own health and be proactive about it, convince the other men in your life that it’s important to acknowledge their health issues and to take action on them, and take the time to teach your sons about the importance of good health.

Derek Markham

Things I dig include: simple living, natural fatherhood, attachment parenting, natural building, unassisted childbirth (homebirth), bicycles, permaculture, organic and biodynamic gardening, vegan peanut butter cookies with chocolate chips, bouldering, and the blues. Find me elsewhere at @NaturalPapa, @DerekMarkham, Google+, or RebelMouse.

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