Have you noticed on social networks that some men let their mustaches grow during the month of November? Far from being a hair technique to protect yourself from the cold, it is a mark of support for the international action Movember (contraction, you guessed it, of mustache and November) to highlight a problem of public health.
The observation is simple: in a world still governed by gender stereotypes, men are inclined to neglect their physical and mental health and are less alerted by physiological dysfunctions. However, they are not spared the onset of a pathology or severe depression, including when they are young.
If the prevention and screening of breast cancer are now part of the health reflexes to be acquired by women, have you ever heard in the public space of the techniques of self-examination of the testicles in order to detect a lump which could turn out to be worrisome?
In partnership with the exhibition Cancerpresented from September 6, 2022 to August 8, 2023 at the Cité des sciences et de l’industrie in Paris, here are some important points to remember to close this month of Movember 2022.
Risk, a matter of virility?
From childhood, little boys are encouraged to engage in risky behavior and ignore pain. Whether it’s not crying after a bad fall on a bike or jumping off the big diving board despite parental prohibitions, many gender sociologists like Sylvie Ayral in her reference book The Boys Factory (PUF, 2011) demonstrated that young men learn to ignore the frailties of their bodies.
A real conditioning to virility that can drastically reduce their life expectancy. As adults, men are three times more likely to die in a car accident than women. Man at the wheel, danger at the bend!
And when it comes to their mental health, the figures are most alarming: suicide is the second cause of death among men aged 15 to 29, while the majority of French people who consult mental health specialists are women.
Take care of yourself
In this context, the carethat is to say all the practices that allow you to take care of yourself or others, become the prerogative of femininity and the medical mental burden is often borne by women in heterosexual couples.
It is to put an end to these deleterious clichés that actions like Movember appeal to the general public on social networks.
Reconsidering the care you take for your own body or your mental state also means working to improve your relationships with others and to live together. A beneficial action for the whole of society, in short.
Become familiar with screenings
Still in this same context, French men are not sufficiently aware of the challenges of so-called male cancers.
The leading cause of cancer death in men is prostate cancer. With 50,430 new cases per year, prostate cancer represents 25% of cancer cases, ahead of lung cancer (32,500 cases) and colorectal cancer (24,000 cases). Screening by digital rectal examination or colonoscopy remains, in many respects, an unrecognized experience, even mocked, when it is mentioned during a conversation.
Much less known, testicular cancer constitutes, with 2,700 new cases per year, 1% to 2% of cases and mainly affects young adults (15-35 years). And do you know what a bilateral scrotal ultrasound is? In the same way as mammography, it is however a question of detecting the possible appearance of a tumor at the level of the genitals.
The exhibition Cancer of the Cité des sciences et de l’industrie precisely makes it possible to go beyond the taboo and the dread surrounding cancer and which prevent many cases from being detected in time.
Understanding how a malignant tumor forms, knowing what behaviors in terms of food or sport can help prevent the disease or even reflecting on the role of endocrine disruptors and industrial pollution on our health are and will be part of the major themes of tomorrow. .
This exhibition also makes it possible to better support a sick loved one to understand the ontological upheaval linked to the outbreak of the disease and the various treatments and protocols being tested in order to fight against this real scourge of the industrial era.
So, whatever your gender expression, overcome your fears and learn to look cancer in the face. Simple reflexes or even a mustache sported during Movember can save lives!
Photo credit: N. Breton – EPPDCSI
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