When I was a kid I thought I would live forever. I also thought I was going to be a professional footballer or an astronaut. As it turns out, none of these things were true. I was gutted. And then I find out that on average, men die at a significantly younger age than women. Double whammy.
Apparently, the average life expectancy for American men is almost five years less than women. But then, I’m not American so maybe it would be different for me. Apparently not. All over the world men peg it before women as a general rule. That’s a tough call. But why, is it genetic? Again, apparently not.
So what is it then? The reasons why men die younger are numerous and complex. 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
Men’s health is way down on the list of things guys talk about. In a recent unscientific study, in the list of the Top Ten things guys talk about “health” comes tenth. (see right)
Men’s Top 10 Topics
- Women in Sports
- Women in Cars
Maybe the conversation goes something like this:
Man 1: Hey Bro, whaaaasup!
Man 2: Dude, I checked myself in the shower this morning and found a bit of a lump.
Man 1: Woah, woah, woah there buddy. Too much info, Man.
Man 2: Erm… It’s just…
Man 1: Want a beer?
Man 2: Yeah sure.
Man 1: Check out those Cheerleaders at the Bears game!
Man 2: Yowzer!
[Silence as each man contemplates the 800lb gorilla sitting in the corner of the room]. Next topic – “What are you driving these days?”
Movember aims to change the face of men’s health and reverse this way of thinking by putting a fun twist on this serious issue. Using the moustache as a catalyst (this is a metaphor not a mandate to use it in some Jackass-style chemical experiment) we want to bring about change and give men the opportunity and confidence to learn and talk about their health more openly and take action.
Using scary stats to motivate people is not how we roll at Movember, but the facts below are too startling to ignore. These figures are for the US but here in the Cayman Islands we should take note:
- 1 in 2 men, and 1 in 3 women, will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime.
- 1 in 6 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime.
- Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in males between the ages of 15 and 35.
- In the US, 6 million people die every year from tobacco use and exposure to tobacco smoke. One person dies every six seconds.
- 1 in every 13 men will be diagnosed with lung cancer in his lifetime.
- More than 3.5 million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed each year.
- An estimated 13 million men, or 11.8% of all men over the age of 20, have diabetes.
- Approximately 76.4 million men and women have high blood pressure.
- Men who sit more than six hours a day have an 18 percent increased risk of dying from heart disease and a 7.8 percent increased chance of dying from diabetes compared with someone who sits for three hours or less a day.
- Globally, 5.3 million deaths will be attributed to physical inactivity.
- Over 6 million men are diagnosed with depression each year.
- Almost four times as many males as females die by suicide.
- 24% of men are less likely to go to the doctor compared to women.
Our vision at MOvember Cayman is to have an impact on the face of men’s health by raising awareness of men’s health issues and supporting testing and treatment for prostate and testicular cancer in particular.
Men CAN change the way they think about their health and be more aware of the illnesses that can affect them. Make a difference – to yourself, to your family and to your friends.
See you in Space!