Men are interesting creatures. The amount of effort it sometimes takes to convince a man to go to hospital is Herculean. Especially if it's something that’s embarrassing to them.
Take prostate exams, for instance. For the longest time, this would involve a doctor putting his finger in a man’s bottom to feel the prostate for any abnormalities. Good luck convincing any guys to follow through with a procedure that has him that vulnerable to another man.
The thing is, regardless of how the procedure is done, men need to have their prostates checked. If prostate cancer isn’t diagnosed early and spreads to other parts of the body, the survival rate drops to less than 30 per cent.
This is all the more worrying when you consider the survival rate after early diagnosis is almost 100 per cent. Clearly, something has to be done to get men diagnosed sooner.
This is why events like Movember are so important.
Movember is about much more than just growing moustaches and facial hair; it’s about getting men and women involved in men’s health.
It’s about creating conversation and having men realize that it’s not just them who go through these things. It’s a shared struggle. It’s about encouraging men to talk and seek medical counsel. About dispelling the myth that sickness is a sign of weakness.
Men are humans, and humans are vulnerable.
While the focus may be predominantly on prostate cancer, Movember also raises awareness on testicular cancer and men’s suicide. These are also topics that men are too hush-hush about; especially the latter. This ‘tough guy image’ that men aren’t susceptible to emotional and mental turmoil needs to end.
It’s the primary reason why men suffer in silence; because to speak about it and to admit that you need help means that you’re ‘not man enough’.
As men, we need to take better care of ourselves. No more ‘It’ll go away if I just leave it alone.’
If it feels abnormal, if you don’t feel well, consult a doctor. If you’re feeling like you might self-harm, tell your spouse or a friend.
Speak. Speak in detail, speak at length, and speak until it becomes your natural response when you have a problem that has overwhelmed you.
As a society, we need to give men the space to exhibit weakness without ridicule. If it helps grow and preserve men’s health, it is ultimately beneficial to us all.
Take time to take stock of your relationships this November. If you’re around people who belittle you for trying to get help, leave. If you feel you can’t admit that you’re suffering, abandon those relationships.
You deserve better than that.
So let that moustache and beard grow and show off your masculinity. But perhaps the manliest thing you could do this Movember is to love and heal yourself.
Are you going to make a commitment to your health this Movember? Share your plans below or on Facebook. For questions, Let's Talk.