Are testicular exams women’s work?
This article by Earl Hipp was previously published on the Man-Making Blog, and is reprinted here with permission.
Among other places, this poster appeared in the women’s toilet in a Hobart (Tasmania) pub. Is this going too far?
One in 268 men will be diagnosed with cancer of the testis during their lifetime. While we often think of this as an older man’s disease, while rare, it’s the most common cancer in males between 15 and 45. It peaks in males in their mid-twenties. Other cancers causing death in guys include lung, prostate, bowel, and melanoma. As the poster states, men are 33% more likely to be diagnosed with cancer than women, and 30% more men will die of the disease than women! Given these numbers, it seems to me we should have more loud and bold approaches to men’s balls and this aspect of men’s health directed at both teem males and men.We seem to live in a very pink world these days, where so much (important) attention is given to breast cancer awareness. Yet it seems odd to me that a poster using the word “balls” and suggesting men (and their partners) should be checking them, might be seen as even a little provocative. This is especially true given the data on testicular and other cancers for men.
Blue September (http://www.blueseptember.org/) is a global awareness and fundraising initiative for all men’s cancers. Blue was chosen as a men’s color as pink is the preferred color for women’s breast cancer awareness. Since starting in New Zealand, the Blue September movement has migrated to Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Ireland. The Blue September blokes in Australia, who created the poster, are supporting Australian Prostate Cancer Research and The Australian Cancer Research Foundation. They say each year, more than 22,000 Australian men die of cancer. For the record, the number for annual male deaths in the US is 33,000.
GO NUTS! Just one of many campaigns across the globe included a Blue September event in the US, prior to the Oakland Raiders/Pittsburgh Steelers game, September 23, 2012 (see link below). It turns out research says walnuts can improve prostate heath. In order to raise awareness about testicular and other cancers for men, prior to the game, fans were given a package of California walnuts, blue wrist bands, and health information. The jumbo screens also showed a pre-game video on the topic. What a great way to bring this topic to a male audience.
Here are some links to great videos and information on Blue September, testicular cancer, and Testicular Self-Exam (TSE) for men and young males:
- A clip of Ireland’s Munster Rugby Team getting painted blue for the cause.
- A really great website, checkemlads.com run by regular guy cancer survivors. They tell moving personal stories, a very informative video clip, and some TSE instruction from straight talking men.
- A great teen health website, kidshealth.org, with some very straight forward instructions on how to do Testicular Self-Exam (TSE).
Images courtesy of the author