Somewhere around 20 years ago my father was diagnosed with prostate cancer. At the time I didn't even know what a prostate was. Turns out, it's something pretty important to get checked because about 1 man in 6 will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime. The American Cancer Society estimates about 241,740 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed in 2012 and about 28,170 men will die of prostate cancer in 20121. Thankfully, my father is a cancer survivor and is still with us today at the age of 74 years. Due to early detection and treatment cancer will likely not be a factor in his passing, which I hope is not for many more years yet.
In the years since my father was diagnosed two things have happened. First, my parents have made sure that, since my mid-30s or so, I get regular screenings. Second, men's health awareness, especially in regards to prostate and testicular cancer, has increased significantly. That's what Movember is all about.
Movember is the global men's health charity engaging men to grow and women to support the Mo (moustache) for the 30 days of November. Through the power of the moustache, awareness and funds are raised for men’s health, specifically prostate and testicular cancer initiatives.
One of the biggest obstacles men tackle in regards to general well-being, is a reluctance to discuss health issues they face either with their partner, family or doctor. Movember was born from recognition that a fun and engaging initiative could help encourage men to become more actively involved in their own health. Movember aims to increase awareness and support for men's health by getting conversations started at a grassroots level, educating men about the health risks they face and raising vital funds for support programs.2
This year my employer, Dell computers, decided to support Movember and encourage participation. Because of how prostate cancer has touched my family I decided to participate. Here's the kicker: Rule #1 is participants must start clean-shaven on November 1st. I haven't seen my upper lip in almost thirty years and I haven't seen my chin in about twenty-five! Hey, it's for a good cause. No, it's for an excellent cause.
So, what can you do to help?First and foremost: Gentlemen, get yourself checked. Starting at age 50, men should talk to a doctor about the pros and cons of testing so they can decide if testing is the right choice for them. If they are African American or have a father or brother who had prostate cancer before age 65, men should have this talk with a doctor starting at age 45. If men decide to be tested, they should have the PSA blood test with or without a rectal exam. How often they are tested will depend on their PSA level.3
You can also donate straight from my Mo Space at http://mobro.co/joefusco. In each country, Movember partners with world class men’s health partners who share Movember’s vision of having an everlasting impact on the face of men’s health. In the United States the partners are the Prostate Cancer Foundation and the LiveSTRONG Foundation. For full details, see this page.
So, without further ado... here are my before and after pictures for the start of this journey:
Note: Movember is a registered 501c3 non-profit, and donations are tax deductible.
---------------1 American Cancer Society - http://www.cancer.org/cancer/prostatecancer/detailedguide/prostate-cancer-key-statistics
2 Movember and Sons - http://us.movember.com/media-room/movember-101/
3 American Cancer Society - http://www.cancer.org/healthy/findcancerearly/cancerscreeningguidelines/american-cancer-society-guidelines-for-the-early-detection-of-cancer