An Educational Moment about Men’s Health Week

Many who are familiar with either myself or my agency know that I have gained a reputation over the past 20 years of being one of the nation’s leading experts in rural healthcare marketing and public relations. With that said, I’m going to do my duty and inform you about the significance of this week—Men’s Health Week.

National surveys reveal that American men make 30 percent fewer trips to doctors compared to women. Men’s Health Week (June 15– 21, 2009) was established in 1994 as the week leading up to Father’s Day. Its goal is to raise the awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys.

According to the Men’s Health Network, a nonprofit educational organization, Men’s Health Week is an opportunity for doctors, public policy makers, the media, and individuals to encourage males to seek regular medical advice and early treatment for disease and injury.

Compared to women, more men die from heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes. Each of these diseases can be detected and treated before it’s too late if men would just seek medical care. Aside from encouraging men to be screened for high blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, and other at-risk illnesses, men often overlook screening for male cancers.

Nine out of 10 cases of testicular cancer occur in men ages 20 through 54, according to the American Cancer Society. Main risk factors include white males who have had an undescended testicle or a family history of testicular cancer. Most testicular cancers can be found at an early stage through frequent self examinations of the testicles for unusual lumps, swelling or aching.

Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer killer in men next to lung cancer. Men above the age of 50 are at high risk for developing the possibly deadly disease. It can be detected and treated, however, through a number of screenings. Prostate cancer can often be detected early by testing the amount of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in your blood. Digital rectal exams are also another common method. This type of exam allows doctors to feel if there are any bumps or hard places on the prostate.

In addition, colorectal and skin cancers are two other common cancers in males, both treatable if detected at an early stage. As with all cancers, following a prescribed screening timeline is pertinent to good health.

As we take a day to honor our fathers, let’s also remind them the importance of maintaining good health so we can continue to appreciate their existence for many more years to come.