Valley guys should man up to fight prostate cancer

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 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. The National Cancer Institute predicts 164,690 new prostate cancer cases in 2018 with 29,430 deaths. Sadly, many of those deaths could have been prevented with early detection.

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.

As such, the monthlong efforts to raise awareness of prostate cancer and promote early detection and treatment merit widespread support and active participation.


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, a program of the Mercy Health Foundation, illustrate the debilitating toll prostate cancer inflicts on men in the region. Consider:

One in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer.

The incidence of prostate cancer in Greater 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 demand support for 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. According to Laura Boomhower, Mercy Health oncology liaison to Man Up, members of the Austintown and Struthers police departments are actively taking part in this year’s monthlong hair-raising and awareness building experience.

But if you cannot or prefer not to grow a mustache or beard, 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.

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