Over the past decade, a growing network of organizations in the world, the nation, the state and the region have transformed the month of November into a hair- raising experience for a noble cause.
Specifically, groups like Man Up Mahoning Valley and the Mercy Health Foundation use the 11th month of the year to urge men of all ages, races and backgrounds to throw their razors to the increasingly chilly wind, grow some facial hair and join the public-spirited and health-conscious observance of Movember.
Movember [mustache merged into November] is designed to change the face of men’s health by raising awareness of some of the most debilitating guy-focused health problems, specifically prostate cancer.
It aims to increase early cancer detection, diagnosis and effective treatments, and ultimately reduce the number of preventable deaths. After all, many of the 27,000 deaths recorded annually from the disease could have been prevented with early detection.
Valley men have good reason to take heed and take part in Movember activities. According to 2016 data from the Ohio Department of Health, the incidence of prostate cancer in Mahoning and Trumbull counties stands at about 115 per 100,000, above state averages.
As any true-blue Man Up member will advise, never fear the physician’s probing finger. Early detection and routine diagnoses can prevent prostate cancer from morphing into a killer. Survival rates are extraordinarily high.
As such, the monthlong efforts to raise awareness of prostate cancer and promote early detection and treatment merit support and participation.
PROSTATE CANCER’S TOLL
Just as October draws necessary public attention toward the plight of breast cancer in women, November appropriately targets the No. 1 cancer killer of men.
Statistics offered by Man Up Mahoning Valley and the Mercy Health Foundation illustrate the debilitating toll prostate cancer inflicts on men in the Greater Youngstown-Warren region. Consider these facts from Man Up and Mercy Health:
One in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer.
The incidence of prostate cancer in Youngstown is higher than the state average.
The Valley’s African-American males are more than twice as likely to die from prostate cancer than any other race.
Less than 50 percent of all men in the Valley had a digital rectal exam performed within the past year that could provide an early diagnosis and cure.
Such statistics cry out for Youngstown area residents to support the monthlong campaign. Men and women can choose a variety of ways to help.
First, they can take part in the campaign that also includes fundraising and good-natured fun and competition among stache growers in families, factories and offices. Man Up has several promotions with prizes for those with the best facial growth in the region.
Man Up and Mercy Health were to outline their plans for the next 29 days at a press conference this afternoon in Austintown.
Man Up advises supporters to put down their razors this month to “coax, trim, groom and wax your way to a spectacular cookie duster. Get some sponsors. Recruit some friends. Have some fun. Do some good.
“Together you, your mustache and your supporters will generate conversations about prostate health, create awareness of the need for early detection, raise funds and, ultimately, save lives. “ In addition, every dollar raised throughout the month stays in the Valley to fight prostate cancer and save lives.
But if you cannot or prefer not to grow a mustache, you can still get involved. You can recruit others or make a donation to the campaign at the MH Foundation in Boardman. For more details on participation, check out the Man Up Mahoning Valley Facebook page.
One of the best ways for men to actively support the awareness month, however, is simply to transform awareness into action. Call your doctor today to schedule a painless and speedy prostate exam. When detected early, such cancers are largely treatable and curable.
The life you save, after all, may be your own.