By Erica Cardenas
Whether it be a husband, father, son, brother, uncle or friend – it’s pretty safe to say we all have men in our lives that we love and care about. As a wife and mother of two sons, I can say without hesitation that their health and wellness is a top priority for me. I want them to live long, healthy lives and I want the very best for them. In this month’s episode of “Your Health” we share on the importance of talking more as a community about men’s health issues, and even more so the importance of men talking more about their own health.
Men aren’t always the first ones to head to the doctor when they notice health symptoms appearing. News flash? Not really. Sorry guys, this isn’t me ganging up on you, there’s been plenty of research to back this one up! 🙂 And in fact, according to some of those same studies, men are more likely to talk to their male friends about sports, current events, and even their jobs before they’d speak about health-related issues. The good news is that research also shows that men do at least talk to their partners about health matters and that forty-eight percent of American males tend to turn to their spouse or significant other first to discuss a health issue.
I recently had the privilege of sitting down with Arizona Diamondback’s CEO, Derrick Hall, to talk about his personal journey through prostate cancer and how that eventually led him to create his own foundation – The Derrick Hall Pro-State Foundation, where he openly shares his story and encourages men to pay attention to their health.
“Pro” State of Mind
The Pro-State Foundation (www.pro-state.org) provides outreach to help patients and their loved ones navigate treatment options for prostate cancer, invaluable sources of social support as well as suggested exercise and diet regimens that allow them to maintain a “pro” state of mind.
Did you know that prostate cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed among men? In fact, studies show that nearly one in every six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime. This is something that hits close to home for me, as my dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer several years back, and most recently a cousin went up against prostate cancer. Thankfully both caught it and treated it early, and are in good health.
In general, doctors recommend that men with an average risk of prostate cancer make choices that benefit their overall health. You may reduce your risk of prostate cancer by making healthy choices such as: eating more fats from plants than animals; increase the amounts of fruits and vegetables you consume daily; and exercise most days of the week, among other things.
Matters of the Heart
Fortunately, many of the health conditions and diseases that men face can be prevented or treated – if found early. The most common conditions affecting men – heart disease, prostate, testicular, and colon cancer, and osteoporosis later in life.
I’m a true believer that our stories and the hard things we go through in life were never meant to be kept to ourselves. Often times, when we share our pain and struggles, is when it helps and heals others walking through the same thing. And so, I am sharing. A few months back I lost my beloved uncle to a heart attack. How I loved and adored my Uncle Lenny. He was only 53-years-old when he unexpectedly passed away. We were all in complete shock and devastated as you can imagine.
I’d like to think that the reason my Uncle Lenny kept his state of health to himself was because he didn’t want to worry us, it was his way of protecting and shielding us from the certain realities he was facing. To the men reading this article, please don’t carry the weight of your health-related issues or sicknesses all on your own, it’s too heavy a burden to bear. Talk. Share. And above all, remember that you’re not alone.
Stay healthy, my friends.
Erica Cardenas (@ericacardenas1)