It’s hard to talk about cancer in… male-specific parts of the body. But it’s way harder to have to fight it because you didn’t talk about it.
Is this thing on? Testes, testes, one, two. Two if you are lucky. Only one call if you’re like me and you’ve already lost one to, say… cancer… or something like that.
Men, I think there is a serious problem facing us on the front of men’s health. No, it’s not some new disease. There is no single celled, alien organism about to destroy everything with a penis. No. This problem is a lot larger than that. The problem gentlemen, is us.
Let me briefly share about a conversation I had with my mother while I was in the hospital a few weeks ago. We got on the subject of cancer awareness. How there are always more advertisements, public service announcements, and major events going on revolving around women’s health issues, and you don’t see nearly the same thing for men’s health issues. Before going any further, neither one of us were saying that it’s wrong for women to have more going on. Different women’s health issues definitely have higher occurrences then most men’s health issues, so it’s kind of natural.
Or is it?
The bigger part of the conversation revolved around society’s tendency to be either embarrassed or offended by hearing the words testicles, or prostate, or colorectals. Many people have asked me what kind of cancer I was diagnosed with. I always answer the best way I can, which is the truth. I was diagnosed with Stage III Testicular Cancer. That’s when it happens. That awkward look of did he really just say testicle?
My mother said she has experienced the same results when explaining my diagnoses to people who ask. I’m sure we can’t be the only ones either. The lingering question of it all, is if it is socially okay to talk about breasts, and ovaries, and vaginas as much as we see, why is it so hard to talk about testicles and rectums and prostates just the same?
I don’t know, but I do have a little bit of a hint as to how we can help bring men’s health awareness a little bit further.
Men: It’s time to shout the fuck up about men’s health.
This is myself included. This is my call to action to all of you. Myself, you, you over there on the iPad, you reading this from your Kindle Fire, and you over there still rocking Windows XP on the Dell desktop. While it may not seem like it, more and more men are becoming at risk for long term illness and serious illness and we don’t even know it. Why? Because we just don’t talk about it enough.
There are many men’s health awareness groups out there trying to do this exact same thing. They need more voices. We need more voices. OUR OWN VOICES! Men’s health needs us all to not be ashamed to turn to a friend and ask them “Hey, when’s the last time you checked your balls?” or “Hey man, the colace and the camera sure as hell beat the alternative.”
What is it going to take to move past the societal boundaries we mindlessly allow ourselves to be guided by, and lend our voices to the greater good? Movember is a great way to do it. But once a year does not make a loud symphony. How many men would be willing to bare the first red face and ask their friends those questions, have the awkward conversations with family, and do so knowing it’s for the greater good?
At this point I know it seems like I am on more of a rant than a call to action, but perhaps that’s just boiling out of me now. I’m one of those guys that wishes they had hear more about certain things. Like how to check myself before my left testicle became a memory, and my life turned into chemical warfare. Take it from me, and many more that have come before, it’s not cool. Not cool at all.
So I leave this post with the open call to all men. Start shouting the fuck up for your fellow man. Talk to your co-workers, your family, your son, your dad, your neighbor. Break the awkwardness that keeps too many of us from taking better care of ourselves. Hell, I’ll leave my Twitter handle at the bottom and if you want, you let me know, and I will personally be sure to ask you if you have checked your boys once a week. I will have no shame in it.
The question now is when will we all have no shame about it? How about starting now. SHOUT THE FUCK UP! Men’s lives will depend on it.
John’s Twitter: @ThatJohnnyDude