Hey, everybody, it’s November! October was breast cancer awareness month, and I spent a lot of time up on my soap box about how to find the right charity that will put your money toward curing cancer and not just selling pink shit that makes you feel a little better about yourself. Everyone is aware of breast cancer, but it’s far more important to put the money raised toward actually helping the women (and the small amount of men) who are diagnosed with it.
But now October is over. That doesn’t mean we should stop caring about breast cancer, but November is men’s health awareness month. As a loud, angry MRA, I’d be ashamed of myself if I didn’t take advantage of this advocacy opportunity.
So here are some facts (which I won’t bother to link, because they all show up in the first couple hits of a google search on the subject):
According to cancer.org, 220,800 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed in 2015, and about 1 in 38 men die of prostate cancer (including my grandfather, who passed away about 20 years ago). Compare that to the 231,000 new cases of breast cancer that will be diagnosed this year, and a 1 in 36 death rate in women.
Even though rates of diagnosis and death are comparable, federal funding for breast cancer research is about double what is forked over for prostate cancer research. That’s a bummer. I found one article estimating that about $6 billion is raised each year for breast cancer, but I couldn’t even find a number for prostate cancer. Movember itself, which seems to be the leading men’s health charity, in the past 11 years has only just exceeded half a billion. Given the disparity in interest, awareness, and discussion of the two cancers, I suspect this may even represent a majority of private money allocated to prostate cancer and other men’s health issues. In a just world, we would care as much about men’s well being as we do women’s.
And Movember isn’t just about cancer. It’s about men’s health in general, including mental health. Men commit suicide about four times as often as women do, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. That’s nothing to sneeze at. If men are so damned privileged, why are they taking their own lives at four times the rate of women? Maybe it’s time to look into bettering conditions for men, too: breaking down gender barriers and injustices that affect men, and destigmatizing and improving access to mental healthcare for men (and in general – mental healthcare needs to be taken a lot more seriously in this country, for everyone).
So this year, I will be a proud Movember participant. The Movember charity puts about 80% of its funding toward men’s health programs, some of which promote awareness, but most of which are actually for the improvement of men’s health. That’s A+ in my book, so I’ll be donating to them today. And while I’m not quite Italian enough to grow a full mustache this month, I’ll be letting my pits grow out. Yes, really. For justice.
If you want to join me (by donating or with hairy solidarity), go here: https://us.movember.com/