Every October everyone from football players to politicians puts on pink to support women’s health and breast cancer awareness. National Breast Cancer Awareness Month was started 26 years ago to create awareness for the often-ignored issues surrounding women’s health and breast cancer.
Unlike breast cancer, men’s health had never needed a campaign to raise awareness or get support, but one of the biggest issues facing men’s health today does stem from a lack of attention. The real issue in men’s health has nothing to do with the quality of doctors, up-to-date research, or availability of coverage. The major issue facing men’s health today is some men – ignoring the requests of their mothers, wives, girlfriends, and grandmothers, and skipping their annual trip to the doctor.
According to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study released in 2001, men are 100% less likely to go to the doctor for preventative care than women. In that same CDC study, it was reported that, excluding pregnancy related visits, women ages 15 to 44 were going to the doctor at a rate 56% higher than men of the same age.
So why is it that men are less likely to seek out preventative care when compared to women? A 1990 American Medical Association study says that men aren’t going to the doctor because they are basically scared about what they might find out. The study says that men avoid the doctor’s office because of fear, denial, embarrassment, and sense of threatened masculinity.
Although some of these feelings will never go away, there are a number of private and public groups and organizations working to get men to think about their own health, get involved in their own preventative care, and create a greater awareness for men’s health issues.
Groups like the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) – a federal campaign which works to promote and support philanthropy – has organized the Men’s Health Network to get men thinking about their health every June by sponsoring Men’s Health Month.
Also pushing for men’s health awareness, and specifically focused on prostate cancer, are the mustachioed guys at Movember. Every year, thousands of men grow mustaches and raise money in the name of men’s health. Since its founding in 2003, the Movember movement has raised over $100 million.
Other men’s health organizations include prostate cancer charity Zero, The American Urology Association Foundation, and The Larry King Cardiac Foundation, which are also devoted to awareness, medical research, and the betterment of men’s health.
But even with these organizations working to create awareness, raise funds, and encourage regular doctor’s visits, until men reach their golden years, they are still not frequenting the doctor’s office as often as women.
So remember guys, Die Hard is just a movie, Superman is only a comic book character, James Bond kills a ton of MALE henchmen in You Only Live Twice, and most of all, remember that the manliest thing you can do is have regular checkups with your doctor, and take care of your body. Happy Men’s Health Month.
Author: Brendan Purves