Never Do Anything Half-Stached.

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The thrill of a completed Movember.
b
y Job Abraria

Seen a lot of Moustaches in the last month?  More than normal… you might question.  What is going on with all of the facial hair?  MOvember is an annual, month-long event that encourages moustache growth among men in an effort to raise awareness and action around Men’s Health Issues.  The event is run online by The Movember Foundation (www.movember.com) with the goal to "change the face of men's health.

From Movember’s perspective the reasons for the poor state of men’s health include:

·     Lack of awareness and understanding about the health issues men face

·     Men not openly discussing their health and how they’re feeling

·     Reluctance to take action when men don’t feel physically or mentally well

·     Men engaging in risky activities` that threaten their health

·     Stigmas surrounding both physical and mental health

By encouraging men to get involved, Movember aims to increase early cancer detection, diagnosis and effective treatments, and ultimately reduce the number of preventable deaths. Besides getting an annual check-up, the Movember Foundation encourages men to be aware of any family history of cancer, and to adopt a healthier lifestyle.

Sounds easy.  Just stop shaving.

Yeah.  That was what I thought, too.  It is a simple step of not shaving one’s upper lip.  Shave the chin and neck and cheeks, just stop at the lip.  But, as I found, as the growth progresses, during the shaving process I was met with choices.  Every day changed my face just a little bit more.  These moments, alone in the mirror, caused me to look at myself with a new consideration.  As the moustache grew in, I could see my observation of the shift in look of my external self.

Moustaches have held strong connections with their wearers.  Some shapes connect so strongly that they are hard to wear without feeling some sort of personality shift toward the originator. Burt Reynolds’ manly overgrown stache may bring on feelings of the 1970s macho, or Clark Gable’s well-oiled pencil mustachio may bring out stronger connections to wit and reverence toward not giving a damn.    Moustaches can stand on their own communicating some perspectives of the wearer. 

The Reflection Changes.

 

By the third week of the month, wearing my chosen “Don Frye-The Predator” stache, I definitely felt a bit changed.  Every morning, the stache felt a bit more “grown in” and in the mirror, my to-do list began changing from ignoring it, to grooming it back.  I liked it, but every day I had the thought of “Do I want to shave this off today?” and “Who is this new guy?”

But those moments in the mirror had depth also.  Seeing my face change helped me to have the consideration of why I was doing all of this.  Contemplating that this small shift in grooming had changed my face, I thought about small shifts in my body could change my health. 

Over a year ago, facing the strong turmoil of a health scare, I would have not have had this realization.  In my mind, I was invincible.  Today, I could see how I was simply an organism that needed to be kept healthy.  Through diet, exercise, and stronger respect for the instructions and timelines of my healthcare providers, I am feeling more and more recovered. 

It’s More than A Moustache.

Movember’s vision is to have an everlasting impact on the face of men’s health.  They focus their effort by supporting prostate and testicular cancer and mental health.  Building awareness and providing education, supporting the drive for staying mentally healthy in the face of healthfulness or throughout health issues is some of the strong work being done by the organization.  Along with research support, the organization also provide services to help men to manage the mental and physical aspects of living with and beyond cancer and mental illness. 

It is good work driven by a strong vision - one that inspires me to keep “The Predator” growing strong.

One of Movember’s focal points is Prostate Cancer.  In the US, one in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime making it the most frequently diagnosed cancer in men after skin cancer. In 2013, over 238,000 new cases of the disease will be diagnosed and almost 30,000 men will die of prostate cancer in the US alone. 

Please take a moment to read over the following information and make an appointment for a physical and prostate check

What is the prostate?
The prostate is a gland forming part of the male reproductive system. In younger men the prostate is about the size of a walnut. It is located immediately below the bladder and just in front of the bowel. Its main function is to produce fluid that protects and enriches sperm. It is doughnut shaped as it surrounds the beginning of the urethra, the tube that carries urine and semen out through the penis. The nerves that control erections surround the prostate.

What is prostate cancer?
Prostate cancer occurs when some of the cells of the prostate reproduce much more rapidly than in a normal prostate, causing a tumor. If left untreated prostate cancer cells may eventually break out of the prostate and invade distant parts of the body, particularly the bones and lymph nodes, producing secondary tumors, a process known as metastasis. Once the cancer escapes from the prostate, treatment is still possible but is more intensive and difficult.

If appropriate treatment begins while the cancer is still confined to the prostate gland, it is possible to prevent the progression of the disease.

One of the most worrying aspects of the disease is that most prostate cancers develop without men experiencing any symptoms.

What are the risk factors?

·     Gender: Prostate cancer only affects men as women do not have a prostate gland.

·     Age: The older a man, the more likely he is to be diagnosed with prostate cancer, about 97% of all prostate cancers are diagnosed in men 50 and older.

·     Family History: A man with a father or brother who developed prostate cancer before age 60 is twice as likely to develop the disease.

·     Ethnicity: African American men are more likely to develop prostate cancer and are nearly 2.5 times as likely to die from the disease.

·     Lifestyle: Poor diet and lack of exercise.

What are possible symptoms?
While the majority of prostate cancers have no symptoms, advanced disease that has spread throughout the prostate (and beyond) can cause urinary symptoms such as:

·     Slow Flow: Urine flow is slow and difficult to stop

·     Hesitancy: Difficulty starting flow of urine

·     Frequency: Need to urinate more frequently

·     Nocturia: Need to urinate during the night

·     Urgency: Urgent need to urinate

·     Blood in the urine or semen

·     Reduced ability to get an erection

·     Painful ejaculation

It’s important to note that these symptoms are common to many different conditions, not just prostate cancer.

Talk to your doctor about prostate cancer testing, as there are advantages and disadvantages of testing.