Why Don’t Men Talk About Their Health? (Part IV)

By | June 13, 2019

It’s no secret that I am absolutely nuts about men’s health. One way I spend my time is reading and summarizing different research studies about the topic. A lot of these studies look at disparities in men’s health, but I am interested in why they exist in the first place.

A few weeks back, I decided to poll my social media followers with a simple question—“Why don’t men discuss their health?” I was amazed by all the different responses. So far, we’ve explored Response 1 (“Men aren’t told to check themselves at doctor’s appointments”), Response 2 (“It’s awkward to talk to my mom about it”), and Response 3 (“Talking about your health isn’t ‘masculine/manly/macho’’).

Over my next several columns, I will continue to share the collected responses and how we can fix them. June is Men’s Health Month, and it seems like a fitting time for this next response.

Response #4: “There is no Susan G. Komen for men.”

I had to chuckle when this response rolled in. As if by some cosmic intervention, I had recently interviewed Susan Brown, the Senior Director of Education and Patient Support for Susan G. Komen. We had a fascinating conversation about male breast cancer, what the foundation plans to do to educate men, and how they aim to dispel the notion that breast cancer only happens to women. She even provided me with a ton of resources to freely share. So, in fact, there is a Susan G. Komen for men—and its name is Susan G. Komen.

However, its focus in the men’s health space is on male breast cancer, so what about other issues? For a comprehensive male-health-focused organization, look no further than The Movember Foundation.

The Foundation is “the leading charity changing the face of men’s health … addressing some of the biggest health issues faced by men: prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and mental health and suicide prevention.”

Their website provides five simple tips for men to know and do:

  1. Spend time with people who make you feel good.
  2. Talk, more.
  3. Know the numbers.
  4. Know thy nuts. Simple.
  5. Move, more

With those five easily-implemented steps, we can truly change the face of men’s health—although changing other body parts might be more apt.

So how do we fix this excuse?

It’s easy: Tell more men about these organizations, such as Movember or Susan G. Komen. Clicking on a website doesn’t cost any money and is a much better use of time than endlessly scrolling through social media. If you’re looking for some more targeted men’s health websites, please consider the following.

For prostate cancer:

For testicular cancer:

I’ve had close, personal interactions with all of these groups and their founders, executives, and staff and can vouch for each one. I also highly recommend A Ballsy Sense of Tumor, though I hear the founder is kind of a nut.

No matter what you organization you choose to share, it’s clear they are out there. At that point, it’s less about men’s health groups not existing and more about people not knowing they exist. A small-but-important difference—which you can change.

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