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November 9, 2023

Supporting Men’s Health

Men! We don’t like to go to the doctor. We don’t like to talk about our health. And we don’t like to ask for help. Our independent approach to life and health often gets us in trouble. In fact, too many men die too young because they don’t take care of their physical and mental health.

Men’s health is important to me because I’ve seen important men in my life suffer from some of these issues. It’s also important because I have a wife and kids who depend on me to be healthy.

November is Men’s Health Month. The movement, Movember, was started in 2003 when a group of 30 young men decided it would be cool to bring back the moustache. Inspired by one of their moms who was raising money for breast cancer, they decided to donate $10 each to raise money for prostate cancer.

Since then, the Movember movement has raised over $900 million and funded over 1,250 men’s health projects. Their mission involves taking on the three biggest men’s health issues—suicide, prostate cancer, and testicular cancer.

Across the world, one man dies by suicide every minute of every day. Around 10.8 million men globally will face a prostate cancer diagnosis. And Testicular cancer is the most common cancer among young men.

Let’s talk about the three big men’s health issues.


In the US, the male suicide rate is alarmingly high: men account for four in five suicides. Suicide rates in the US increased 4% in 2021 and 2.6% in 2022, pushing suicides to an all-time high of 49,500 last year. That’s over 135 suicides every day, or over 5.5 every hour.

The pandemic created a host of mental health issues: isolation, fear, stigma, abuse, and financial stress. This stress seems to have affected young men more than older men. A study by the CDC found that nearly 20% of US high-school students said they seriously considered suicide in 2021.

While the pandemic officially ended May 11, 2023, many men continue to suffer from collection trauma brought on by pandemic posttraumatic stress, global conflicts, inflation, and an increase in crime and violence.

When men have problems, especially emotional problems, they are usually afraid to reach out or feel like they have no place to go for help. Seventy percent of men say their friends can rely on them for help, but only 48% say they can rely on their friends.

While most men act like they have it together, in truth, a lot of men struggle emotionally and mentally. As evidence, binge drinking increased by 21% in 2021, and it hasn’t gone back down. Researchers predict that this kind of sustained increase in alcohol consumption for more than one year could increase mortality rates by 19-35%.

Movember states a goal to reduce men’s suicide rates 25% by the year 2030. One of their initiatives is providing a wealth of resources for men who struggle. They also provide some valuable resources for spotting a bro who’s feeling low. And, if you know someone who feels depressed and you just don’t know how to help, check out Movember Conversations.

Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is the most diagnosed cancer in men in the US. One in eight men will receive a prostate cancer diagnosis in their lifetime. Globally, doctors diagnose more than 1.4 million men with prostate cancer each year.

Risk of developing prostate cancer increases with age, but that doesn’t mean the disease only affects older men. African American men and men who have a family history (a brother or father with prostate cancer) are 2.5 times more likely to develop prostate cancer.

The key? Early detection. The difference between early detection and late detection can determine life or death. Detection is as simple as a blood draw to check prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level. If you’re 50 or older, you should get your PSA level checked annually. PSA levels of 4.0 ng/ml and lower are considered normal.

Across the globe, more than 3 million men live with the disease, and many deal with serious side effects from treatment. Movember aims to reduce the number of men dying from prostate cancer and the number of men facing serious ongoing side effects from treatment by 50% by the year 2030.

Testicular Cancer

Testicular cancer accounts for the most cancer diagnoses in young men in the US. The survival rate for testicular cancer is 95%. But sadly, for some young men, long-term-treatment-related side effects severely compromise their quality of life. Movember focuses on getting these predominantly young men back to living full, healthy lives.

Top Five Things to Know and Do

If you’re a man and you want to take charge of men’s health issues, Movember has a wealth of resources. Here’s their list of advice for all men wanting to take charge of their health.

  1. Spend time with people who make you feel good. Stay connected. Your friends are important, and spending time with them is good for you. Make time to catch up regularly and check in.
  2. Talk, more. You don’t need to be an expert, and you don’t have to be the solution, but you can save someone’s life by being there for him, listening, and giving your time.
  3. Know your numbers, know your risk, talk to your doctor. At 50, talk to your doctor about prostate cancer and whether you should have a PSA test. If you are African American or have a father or brother who has had prostate cancer, you should have this conversation at 45.
  4. Know your nuts. Simple. Get to know what’s normal for your testicles. Give them a check regularly, and go to the doctor if something doesn’t feel right.
  5. Move, more. Add more activity to your day. Do more of what makes you feel good.
  • Take a walking meeting
  • Park farther away in the parking lot
  • Instead of the elevator, take the stairs
  • Go fishing, hunting or hiking
  • Get out and walk your dog
  • Run around and play in the yard with your kids

It’s not too late for you to join the Movember movement and raise or donate money for men’s health. You can participate in several ways, even if you don’t want to grow a mustache. (I want to, but my wife disapproves, and I’ve learned to pick my battles.)

Move for Movember serves as a great alternative way to participate in raising awareness for men’s health. Commit to running or walking 60 miles over the month, at your own pace. That’s 60 miles for the 60 men we lose to suicide each hour, every hour, across the world.

Whatever you choose to do this month, for the sake of the men we love (sons, brothers, husbands, fathers, friends) let’s do what we can to help those men live longer, healthier lives.

Let’s keep our men strong and healthy.

Bo Railey