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Hairy Faces Serve as a Health Reminder for Men

Nov 29, 2013 09:58AM ● By Med Editor

It seems like everywhere you look men are sporting mustaches and beards. It’s not the ‘70s, and probably not all in support of a sports winning streak, so what is this facial hair craze all about?

November, or “Movember,” has become a  time when many men grow mustaches and beards as part of a campaign to help raise awareness and funds for men’s health issues and talk about cancer prevention – particularly prostate cancer.

Thomas Groeger, M.D., family medicine physician at Lead-Deadwood Regional Medical Clinic, in Deadwood, S.D., says “Movember” is a good way to raise awareness of the subject of men’s health. He says there are differences of opinion as to when men should have an annual exam. Typical exams might include a physical assessment, blood-pressure reading, cholesterol test, and perhaps a prostate exam depending on age and family medical history.

“Some men are very proactive when it comes to their health. Others wait to see a doctor until they are sure something is wrong,” Dr. Groeger says. “I believe healthy men should consider having a baseline physical exam in their 20s and then again in their 30s and 40s. Once in their 50s, healthy men might then go in for an exam every two years or so.”

On the other hand, Dr. Groeger says men with a family history of health issues, such as heart attack, stroke or cancer, should consult with a physician to determine an exam schedule personalized for them.       

According to the American Cancer Society, following skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men. In 2013, the organization estimated about 238,590 new cases of prostate cancer would be diagnosed and about 29,720 men would die of prostate cancer in the United States. The Society says, however, most men diagnosed with prostate cancer do not die from it.

Dr. Groeger says he typically begins screening healthy men for prostate cancer at age 50. Screening might occur sooner for those who have risk factors for prostate cancer. When found early, prostate cancer is treatable.

“Men should talk their physician about their family history and have regular exams and screenings as advised,” Dr. Groeger stressed.

 Additional health tips for men, which can prolong their lives, include:  maintain a healthy weight and eat right, exercise on a regular basis, get enough sleep, receive needed immunizations, manage stress, be aware of health and body changes, drink alcohol in moderation, and quit or don’t use tobacco products.