Every June, we take time to celebrate the fathers in our lives on the third Sunday of the month: Father’s Day. But did you know that June is also Men’s Health Month when men and boys are encouraged to become more aware of their health? In particular, this program is intended to highlight what they can do to prevent health issues through screenings and lifestyle changes. Two of the biggest threats to men’s health are heart disease and cancer, especially prostate cancer.
Heart disease kills hundreds of thousands of men each year (more than it does women), with the risk of disease increasing with age. Men over 45 years old have a greater risk of heart disease, as do those with family members who have died young from the disease. Further, many lifestyle choices and medical conditions can increase the risk of getting heart disease, including:
-High blood pressure
-Poor diet and physical inactivity (leading to obesity)
-Excessive use of alcohol and tobacco
Prostate cancer affects 1 in 7 men, and it was estimated that for 2015, over 200,000 men would be diagnosed with this cancer while almost 28,000 would die from it. As with heart disease, the risk of getting prostate cancer increases with age (greater risk after 40 years of age) and family history. Also like heart disease, a healthy diet and regular exercise can help reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer. A prostate exam may also help detect signs of this cancer early; when detected early, prostate cancer has a high cure rate.
This June, take time to consider your health and the health of the men around you. And don’t forget that June 17 (the Friday before Father’s Day) is Wear BLUE Day, a day when everyone is encouraged to “wear blue” in order to raise awareness of men’s health issues. Be sure to #ShowUsYourBlue!
Resources for prevention and statistics
Prostate Cancer Foundation: http://www.pcf.org
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: http://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease
National Institutes of Health’s MedlinePlus: https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus
American Cancer Society: http://www.cancer.org/cancer/prostatecancer