November is not Men’s Health Month. Although you could be forgiven for assuming otherwise, National Men’s Health Month is officially celebrated in June.
But on Nov. 1, millions of men shaved their faces clean and began growing moustaches to raise awareness for men’s health in a challenge called “Movember.” Women are also supporting the cause by pledging to donate to leading men’s health foundations.
So what, exactly, should we be aware of?
Here’s a snapshot of leading men’s health issues by the numbers:
Movember began in the early 2000s to raise awareness about prostate cancer. It started in a pub in Australia, where 30 men agreed to grow a moustache for 30 days. The Movember Group was officially formed in 2004 and raised more than $40,000 for the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia. Word had spread to America by 2007, with over $27 million raised for prostate cancer foundations across the globe, including the United States.
Organizers started the cause with good reason: Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths among men in America. Here are some other numbers that show the true impact of prostate cancer nationwide.
Number of men estimated to receive a prostate cancer diagnosis in 2014.
Men who will die in 2014 due to prostate cancer.
Survival rate at five years among men whose prostate cancer was detected early.
Dollars spent on prostate cancer in 2010.
By 2008, the Movember movement had spread to seven countries. Although depression had been part of the awareness cause, the group started partnering with mental health foundations that year.
Depression can present different symptoms in men and women. Depression in men often materializes as rage or fatigue, rather than the sadness that’s often associated with it. For this reason, many men aren’t aware they have symptoms of depression until a doctor diagnoses it, and men are more likely to die by suicide associated with depression.
Dollars spent on treatment of depression in men in 2009.
1 in 17
American men diagnosed with depression.
Rank of suicide among leading causes of death in America.
In addition to prostate cancer and depression, men’s health awareness includes testicular cancer. Even though it is much less prevalent than prostate cancer, survival rates are lower for testicular cancer. Unlike most health threats, this cancer is a young person’s disease, with young men being among the most diagnosed.
Percentage of testicular cancer diagnoses that occur among men ages 20 to 34.
Median age among all testicular cancer deaths.
Estimated number of new testicular cancer diagnoses in 2014.
Percent of testicular cancer patients who survive after five years.
The Silent Partners
When we talk about men’s health, neither prostate cancer nor testicular cancer represents the biggest men’s health threat despite the fact that they are serious conditions. Lung cancer is still the leading cause of cancer death among American men and women, and heart disease is our nation’s No. 1 health threat.
Dollars spent on heart disease treatment in 2010.
1 in 4
Number of deaths among males due to heart disease in 2010.
Men who die suddenly of heart disease and showed no symptoms.
Estimated number of men who will receive a diagnosis of lung cancer in 2014.
Estimated number of men who will die of lung cancer in 2014.
Men who survive five years after lung cancer diagnosis.
Dollars spent on lung cancer treatment in 2010.
Some of the numbers on men’s health issues are startling, but that’s what true awareness is all about.
To make sure you or the men in your life don’t become statistics, preventive care is key. That includes regular checkups and screenings with your doctor at least once per year, and any time you have strange or painful symptoms.
Abstaining from tobacco and maintaining a healthy weight are the two best ways you can reduce your risk of developing these diseases. Tobacco smoking is a risk factor for heart disease and lung cancer, and has been linked to more aggressive prostate cancer. Obesity is also a risk factor for heart disease, depression and prostate cancer. Aerobic exercise, which helps with weight maintenance, is essential for a healthy heart.