Movember is a worldwide movement that aims to raise awareness for men’s health by investing in research projects and initiatives. One of the ways you can tell that a fellow friend or family member participates is by looking at his facial hair during November. If he doesn’t touch it or trims a lot less hair than he usually does, then he is more than likely to be a part of the movement… or he’s just lazy and using the month as an excuse to not shave.
This shoot was personal to me because I’ve known several great men who lost or took their own lives due to health or mental issues that went on for too long without being talked about or treated. This happens every day.
It is a great cause for men worldwide, especially when it comes to simply talking about issues surrounding men’s health. We do not talk about or have a good idea of what affects us despite the fact that there are many young men dying every day from treatable and preventable diseases/disorders if they’re caught early.
With this photo shoot involving men from different and diverse backgrounds, I hope to instill the importance of talking about unusual changes you may have noticed in your body or mind but choose to ignore/push aside due to the obvious social stigmas of seeming weak/vulnerable or being told to, “get over it.” Diseases and mental health issues do not discriminate. We must learn how to approach and deal with these issues if they end up affecting you or a loved one.
Some of the leading causes for the deaths of men in the U.S. are the following:
- Prostate cancer
- Testicular cancer
- Mental health and suicide
Here are some quick facts and early symptoms you can keep an eye out for to get you and your fellow brothers talking.
I strongly encourage you to do your own research into some of the medical history of men in your family so that you can be prepared to make informed decisions about your own health. Sources for further reading can be found below.
I am not a trained medical professional and the following information has been derived from various websites strictly for the purpose of sharing. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor, go to the emergency department, or call 911 immediately.
PROSTATE CANCER FACTS:
Cause/s of prostate cancer: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/prostate-cancer/causes-risks-prevention/what-causes.html
1 man in 9 will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime.
1 man in 41 will die of prostate cancer.
Prostate cancer typically develops in older men and African-Americans. 6 out of 10 cases are diagnosed in men aged 65 or older.
Despite being a serious disease, more than 2.9 million men that have been diagnosed with prostate cancer are still alive today.
It is recommended that men get themselves checked annually starting at age 50 by way of Digital Rectal Exams (DREs) or Prostate Specific Androgen (PSA) testing. If there’s history in the family relating to prostate cancer, it is a good idea to get routinely tested at earlier ages than recommended by the American Cancer Society (ACS).
Burning or pain during urination.
Loss of bladder control.
Blood in urine.
Difficulty getting an erection.
Swelling in legs or pelvic area.
Bone pain that doesn’t go away, or leads to fractures.
TESTICULAR CANCER FACTS:
Cause/s of testicular cancer: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/testicular-cancer/about/what-is-testicular-cancer.html
1 out of every 250 men will develop testicular cancer.
The average age for testicular cancer diagnosis is 33.
This cancer appears more often in young and middle-aged men. 8% of diagnoses occur in men over 55 years old.
It is recommended to perform monthly self-examinations to check for lumps in the testicles if you are between 15-55 years old.
Painless lump (can be the size of a pea or marble if found early) or swelling on either testicle.
Pain, discomfort, or numbness in the testicle or the scrotum (with or without swelling).
Sudden buildup of fluid in the scrotum.
Lower back pain, shortness of breath, chest pain, and bloody sputum or phlegm can be symptoms of later-stage testicular cancer.
An enlargement of the blood vessels from the testicle.
Twisting of the testicles.
MENTAL HEALTH FACTS:
Some of the common types of mental disorders affecting men today are: depression, body dysmorphic disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
More often than not, men would rather not seek professional help or talk about their mental health due to: social constructs, feeling vulnerable/weak, thinking the symptoms they have, aren’t something to worry about.
Over 6 million men suffer from depression every year.
Men make up for 40% of people diagnosed with binge-eating disorder.
4 out of 10 men will experience a traumatic event in their lifetime, with some experiences being so severe, it leads to PTSD.
PTSD can stem from sexual, violent, and/or emotional traumas.
Changes in mood.
Intrusive memories of a traumatic event.
Extreme physical/emotional reactions to something that reminds a person of the traumatic event.
Lack of interest in previously enjoyed hobbies/activities.
Easily startled or frightened.
Overwhelming guilt or shame.
Anger, irritability, aggressiveness.
Feeling on the edge.
Loss of interest in work or family.
Not being able to concentrate.
Overeating/not eating enough.
A need for alcohol or drugs.
BODY IMAGE (BODY DYSMORPHIC DISORDER):
Obsession with a perceived flaw in appearance that others can’t see or may seem minor.
Engaging in behaviors that hide or fix the perceived flaw (constantly checking the mirror, grooming, or skin picking).
Constant comparison of your appearance with others.
Constant seeking of validation/reassurance from others regarding your appearance.
Avoiding social situations.
Men die by suicide 3.53x more often than women.
White males accounted for 7 of 10 suicides in 2016.
Firearms are the most commonly used method of suicide among males.
The highest increase in suicide is in males aged 50+ (30 per 100,000).
There is 1 death by suicide every 25 attempts.
Verbal suicide threats.
Expressions of helplessness.
Lack of interest in future plans.
Increased use of drugs or alcohol.
Sleeping too much or too little.
Giving away prized possessions.
This whole blog post might seem to be despondent in nature, but that is the reality for many men out there. Start that conversation with a friend, brother, or partner who might seem to be going through a rough patch in life. The sooner we talk about these issues and lay them out on the table, the sooner we can help each other lead better and higher quality lives. We’re all in this together. You are not alone.
If you see someone who has not been himself lately, ask:
“Hey bud, you good?”
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