The Movember Movement
Welcome to the month of Movember formerly known as November. During this time, men join together in an effort to raise awareness about men’s health and the preventative practices men can employ to reduce their overall risk of disease and illness. As a fun, but symbolic gesture of brotherhood and unity, men start the month of November clean shaven and grow a moustache for the entire duration of the month – literally changing the face of men’s health.
A United Brotherhood
Historically and culturally, the matriarch of the family is the caretaker. Many of the responsibilities related to the family’s health is monitored and managed by the women in the home. While this is not always the case, it is common to see that type of household structure. When it comes to selecting the meals, promoting physical activity, and scheduling doctors’ appointments and health screenings, women play a pivotal role in these types of decisions. Maintaining this balance can present challenges – especially when it comes to motivating, supporting, and encouraging our husbands, boyfriends, fathers, brothers and significant others to take charge of their health and well-being. Well, ladies, the month of November presents a unique opportunity to place the importance of physical activity, nutrition, and health screenings for men in the context of a united brotherhood movement.
Movember – An Awareness Campaign
Beyond this moment being a band of brothers and a symbol of men’s health, the original impetus for Movember is raising awareness of prostate cancer risk, early detection practices, and treatment. Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed form of cancer in men. Bringing the severity of this disease close to home, 403 new cases of prostate cancer were diagnosed in Wyoming in 2010. Risk factors for developing prostate cancer include age, race, family history, and diet. Although prostate cancer is common, it is treatable with early detection.
Women Supporting Their Men
Beyond the efforts to increase awareness of men’s health, Movember encourages men to speak openly and confidently about their health concerns – something that is, by nature, uncommon for men and a skill that seems inherent to many women. As women of the household, whether we are daughters, sisters, mothers, grandmothers, or girlfriends, we can play an influential role in making this month about the men in our lives. Here are a few tips to help guide you in your conversations with the men in your life:
- Walk in his shoes. Before opening up the conversation, take some time think about his perspective. Acknowledge and do your best to understand and sympathize with the embarrassment and discomfort he might feel in discussing sensitive issues about his health.
- Share the knowledge: Educate yourself about the health issues that men experience. Share what you learn – pass along articles and website links to gently encourage him to discover new knowledge about health.
- Be a role model. Set the example in your house. Make a commitment to exercise and balance the family’s diet – in doing so, you can encourage him (and other family members) to follow your lead.
- Research family history. Family history is a critical component to understanding personal disease risk. Take some time to compile your family history as well as his. Keep this list readily available for future doctor’s visits and medical exams.
- Accentuate the positive. When he makes a positive change, congratulate him and provide encouragement and support. While this is a simple act, it can help in building self-efficacy and intrinsic motivation.
- Foster a partnership. Involve your significant other in the decision-making. For example, ask for his help in meal planning and preparation. Something as simple as this can reinforce a foundation for communication and support.
The month of November is the perfect time to start the conversation and encourage the men in your life to wear a mustache proudly in an effort to take charge and become leaders in changing the face of men’s health! For more information about Movember, please visit the official website: http://us.movember.com. Information about prostate cancer and other men’s health concerns can be researched at: www.cdc.gov, www.nih.gov, or www.mayoclinic.com.