June is officially Men’s Health Month, and this means it’s time to raise awareness about the preventable health problems that affect millions of men and boys across the globe. Men on average live 5 years less than women and are more likely to develop a chronic disease in their lifetime. Last year, 40% of men reported delaying medical care and screening for common and preventable medical conditions. This alarming statistic is one of the reasons for recognizing Men’s Health Month each year. The Human Papillomavirus (HPV) infection is one of the preventable infections currently responsible for approximately 20,000 cancer deaths each year among men. An important goal of this year’s Men’s Health Month is to encourage more men and boys to receive the HPV vaccine as well as screening. Through vaccination and screening, we can reduce the number of unnecessary deaths resulting from HPV infection.
Some of the recommended ways to observe Men’s Health Month are to ensure your children are fully vaccinated for HPV and any other available immunizations like meningitis. Other important ways to observe this month are to (1) get a health checkup with your medical provider; (2) get screened for cancers like colorectal cancer, prostate cancer, and skin cancer; (3) monitor your level of stress and anxiety; (4) make healthy lifestyle choices like drinking and smoking less; and (5) get plenty of exercise each day.
One ongoing problem all over the world regarding men’s health has been the cultural view that dealing with sickness is an inherently feminine attribute. This was a larger problem in previous generations and led to men not seeking help or care for many medical issues. Men as a whole are less likely to seek mental health or cancer screening services than women, yet they have a higher rate of suicide and a higher rate of cancer mortality than women. If we can change the culture of stoicism, we can help save the lives of many men across the world. One of the missions of Men’s Health Month is to continue to help change this harmful cultural view and to motivate men all over the world to seek care when they need it.
As a way to recognize Men’s Health Month you can wear blue at any point this month. Women should encourage the men in their lives to pay extra attention to their health this month. Eating healthy, exercising, and making prevention a priority is a must all year round. During Men’s Health Month you can use the hashtags #ShowUsYourBlue and #MensHealthMonth to spread the message of supporting the health of men in your life. For more information go t www.menshealthmonth.org.