FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — You’ve heard it every day this month. FOX24 wants to keep the conversation growing about cancer in men, which is why you’ll notice the guys here taking part in No Shave November.
The beards are not just to raise awareness and money for cancer research, they’re also a wake-up call for men when it comes to prevention.
It’s time for men to get serious about their health and November is as good a month as any to start.
“It’s just, kind of a convenient time of the year as it gets a little cooler outside, to put down that razor as we raise awareness for men’s health and prostate cancer, and all the other things that go along with it,” Dr. Chris Shenep, Director of the Foundation for Arkansas Urology says.
The beards are not just for insulation from the cold. Raise enough awareness or funds and you could save lives.
Arkansas Urology Physician Matthew Kincade says the beards are for other kinds of cancer too, as well as ‘mental’ health.
“Testicular cancer takes an inordinate number of young men who just don’t know any better to screen, so we want to teach guys, older guys to get their prostates checked, younger men to pay attention to testicular self-exam,” Dr. Kincade says.
But prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer in men. Dr. Chris Shenep with Arkansas Urology says 1 in 9 men will be diagnosed in their lifetime.
But it’s also the most cureable, which is why the biggest challenge is to get men to go to the doctor if they notice something’s off or even just for regular checkups
“So many times, guys kind of just ignore any signs or symptoms, and don’t pay any attention to their bodies, don’t get any peventative checkups, and so that can just kinda throw a wrench in the health care plan when it comes to mens’ health,” Dr. Shenep says.
Unfortunately, it’s not so easy getting men to talk about this stuff or even pay much thought to it.
“Guys aren’t totally down with their bodies, so they’re ashamed about talking about testicular cancer, they’re ashamed about talking about prostate cancer. They’re ashamed. They think mental health issues are a weakness, and they’re not,” Dr. Kincade says.
By the way, the pandemic is giving this year’s No Shave November even more weight. Especially with the spike in cases of COVID-19 we’ve seen lately.
“We can’t afford, a year from now, to have a bunch of guys who have prostate cancer because they didn’t come to the doctor and see us during the pandemic,” Dr. Shenep says.
So the hope is that the beards this month make men everywhere reconsider ‘toughing it out,’ because being a man means taking care of yourself.
“It’s okay to talk about the prostate, it’s okay to talk about testicular cancer, it’s okay to talk about mental health,” Dr. Kincade says.