Caring for HiM - Raising Awareness About Prostate Cancer
We “mustache” you a
question – Have you seen your doctor this year?
Things are a bit “bushier” around Griffin Hospital this
month as staff, physicians and volunteers are growing or wearing mustaches and
beards to support men’s health.
Griffin’s Annual Show Your MO contest encourages members of
the Griffin family and/or their loved ones to grow a mustache, submit a photo
of their current facial hair or sport a fake mustache as part of a competition
to see who has the best “MO” (a slang term for mustache).
The challenge is all in good fun, but it has the very
important goal of raising funds for Griffin’s Health Initiative for Men (HiM) and
increasing prostate cancer awareness.
Show Your MO is modeled after the global Movember campaign,
a program to raise funds to help keep men from premature death due to prostate
and testicular cancer, and mental health issues.
Caring for HiM
Like Movember, HiM aims to improve the health of men by
first encouraging them to see a doctor once a year to understand their health
and get the recommended health screenings based on their age, family history
In the past 5 years, HiM has hosted free health screenings,
including prostate cancer screenings, educational talks and has spread
awareness with free Father’s Day cards and information tables at community
Research shows that most men skip their annual physicals between
the ages of 18 and 50. During these, men are at risk for many chronic
conditions like heart disease, diabetes, obesity, stress and cancer. All of
these conditions can worsen over time if not addressed, and a primary care
physician is best equipped to help guide men on early detection, treatment and
The statistics on prostate cancer can seem contradictory.
According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), most men
diagnosed with prostate cancer do not die from it. In the U.S., there are more
than 2.9 million men who are prostate cancer survivors today. However, prostate
cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in American men (behind lung
cancer). The ACS estimates that 1 man in 39 will die of prostate cancer.
How can a cancer with such a high rate of survival be the
second-leading cause of cancer death in men?
Like many cancers, the answer likely lies in the level of
the cancer when it is found.
The ACS states that about 4 out of 5 prostate cancers are
found in the “local” stages (also known as Stage I or II), in which there is no
sign that the cancer has spread outside of the prostate. Additionally, many prostate
cancers are found at the regional stage, which means the cancer has spread from
the prostate to nearby areas (also known as Stage III and the Stage IV cancers
that haven’t spread to distant parts of the body). The relative 5-year survival
rate for local and regional stage prostate cancer is nearly 100%.
The statistics take a dramatic turn when looking at prostate
cancers found at the distant stage where cancers that have spread to distant
lymph nodes, bones, or other organs (also known as some types of Stage IV
cancer). The relative 5-year survival rate for distant stage prostate cancer
plummets to about 28%.
These statistics point to a need for increased screening and
awareness about prostate cancer symptoms and risks. Throughout the rest of
November, Griffin Hospital and HiM will be sending out prostate cancer facts on
the Griffin Hospital’s Facebook page and Twitter feed to inform and encourage
men to meet with their physician and discuss their prostate cancer risk and
possible screenings. At the end of the month, all the facts will be posted on
the HiM webpage.
In the meantime, Griffin will get a little hairier than
usual, hoping that some silly (and maybe some debonair) facial hair will be
just the thing to get men to see their doctor.