Photo Credit: Two of our favorite Mo ambassadors: iVillage staffer Lisa Kolodny Johnson and her husband, Seth Johnson
iVoice Jim Higley wraps-up iVillage's month-long campaign to support the “Movember” movement. During November each year, Movember is responsible for the sprouting of moustaches on men’s faces around the world. With their Mos, these men raise vital funds and awareness for men’s health, including prostate and testicular cancer. Support Jim’s campaign here!
As the calendar flips to the month of December, women around the world are singing a collective song of praise as the men in their lives -- young and old -- can now shave the facial hair they’ve been cultivating during the last 30 days as another Movember comes to a close.
Rest assured, ladies, most of the guys are singing louder than you. Myself included. But before we all say good-bye to this important worldwide cause, I wanted to leave all of you with five important take-aways.
1. Support Your Man's Mo
Sure, growing a “mo” is kind of goofy, but you have to agree that it’s a pretty awesome way to help men step into the world of compassion and support that women have so spectacularly understood for centuries. We’re realizing that this is an important issue. We’re starting to understand that it’s not only cool to take care of each other -- but it’s cool to do so publicly. So if there’s a guy in your life who participated in Movember, I hope you’ll give that newly-clean-shaven face a big ole kiss, and tell him you’re proud of him. And, most importantly, encourage him to do it again (yes, AGAIN!) next year! (And while I’m thinking of it, why don’t you consider being an official Mo Sista yourself!)
2. Make Sure He Gets a Physical
Men stink at getting physicals. And it’s not just laziness. Truth is, a lot of guys are downright scared to come face-to-face with their doc. Worse yet, a lot of guys don’t even have a doc. So you can do the men in your life a big favor by reminding them, prodding them and encouraging them to go in for an annual check-up. Offer them an incentive! Come on, get creative! Honestly, it’s one of the most important things you can do for us guys.
3. Realize that Prostate Cancer Is Not Just an Older Man's Disease
I get a little emotional on this topic so work with me for the next few sentences. Prostate cancer can occur at any age. When diagnosed in younger men, it can often be a more aggressive cancer. The day I received my own diagnosis of prostate cancer I was 44. I was training for a triathlon and in the best shape I had ever been in my life. Overnight, I went from being a dad who was busy doing all the normal things we do -- carpools, soccer, career, yard work -- to being a dad facing his own death. I don’t want any man in your life to ever be in those shoes. If a man has a family history of prostate cancer, he must make his doctor aware of this. Men should also be proactive about talking to their doctor about a simple, non-invasive PSA blood test which can pick up markers for the potential of prostate cancer. My own cancer was flagged, ironically, because the lab accidentally ran a PSA blood test. Had that not been done, I’d likely be dead today. Please, make the men in your life aware of this blood test and encourage them to talk to their own doctor about a strategy for keeping their prostate cancer-free. The Prostate Cancer Foundation is a fabulous resource for anyone battling prostate cancer.
4. Know that Testicular Cancer Is the Number One Cancer In Males 15-35
Do you have a husband or boyfriend in that age group? How about a son? Testicular cancer is virtually 100% curable if detected early. Any guy in this at-risk age group should know how to do a monthly self-exam of his testicles to detect lumps, hardness or swelling. The crazy thing is that the vast majority of men of all ages have no idea they should be examining themselves. Unfortunately, for many of them who are eventually diagnosed with testicular cancer, it’s already spread to their lungs, lymph nodes and brains. A terrific resource for testicular cancer is Single Jingles (I love that name!). Single Jingles not only provides amazing support and education, they also have a wonderful phone app to teach guys how to do a self-exam and remind them to do so! Not into apps? No problem, Single Jingles will gladly mail you a free “shower card” to hang in your guy’s bathroom, providing all the information they need to keep their testicles healthy.
5. Connect Him With the Right Resources to Get Help
No doubt, you know about LIVESTRONG. What you may not know is the expansive services and resources they offer anyone going through a cancer journey. They have great information, support and referral programs, just to name a few. Go to the LIVESTRONG website and click on the tab “Get Help” located at the top. One of LIVESTONG’S partners is Imerman Angels 1-on-1 Cancer Support. Imerman provides free, individual support to anyone going through a cancer journey. So the next time you hear of someone with a cancer diagnosis and you don’t know what to say, give them a hug, tell them you care, and tell them about Imerman Angels.
So go out and continue to spread the message of Movember for the next 11 months. Be part of the community of voices saying it’s not only important -- but very cool -- to talk about men’s health issues. And now us guys are going to lather up, get our baby faces back, and share some long-overdue Mo-kisses and hugs with all of you!