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Why women should be fierce advocates for men’s health

June is designated as Men’s Health Month. It is such a crucial issue, and yet it shares this month with other health initiatives such as Alzheimer’s &Brain Health Awareness and PTSD Awareness.

While those, too, are important topics, perhaps the crowded calendar underscores a painful fact about men’s health — that it is oftentimes overshadowed and too easily ignored, especially by men themselves.

They deserve a platform that puts their needs at the forefront.

Women have been trailblazers in raising awareness for breast cancer, a disease that has affected countless lives. Through our collective voices, we’ve made breast cancer a household topic, with even baseball players swinging pink bats on Mother’s Day to show their support. This tradition began in 2001, and it’s a testament to women’s unwavering determination.

However, it took another five years for baseball to acknowledge prostate cancer, a significant health concern for men, by donning blue on Father’s Day.

This delay highlights the contrast in how we approach men’s and women’s health issues.

Now’s the time to talk

Women have an innate ability to open up and share our experiences with trusted friends and family members, but men often struggle to express themselves openly, especially when it comes to personal health concerns.

My beloved husband of 44 years faced a prostate issue that disrupted his sleep, caused urgent bathroom trips, and hindered his desire to venture out because of the unpredictability of his condition.

While discussing the possibility of my husband having a simple prostatectomy, I learned that his friend had undergone the same procedure, from talking with the friend’s wife.

I encouraged my husband to inquire about his friend’s experience during their night out together. But he returned home after 2½ hours without broaching the subject, citing the intensity of the game they watched as the reason for not discussing it.

What!?

He said there just wasn’t time to bring it up.

This anecdote encapsulates the challenge that men often face in advocating for their own health. Even when presented with an opportunity to gain valuable insights, they often shy away from these conversations.

Our call to action

Ladies, it is our duty to step up and advocate for the men in our lives. We must raise awareness about men’s health issues, especially those related to sensitive areas such as prostate health.

While there may be a sense of embarrassment or ego involved, we cannot allow these barriers to prevent our men from receiving the care and support they need.

The reality is that modern medical technologies have significantly improved outcomes for prostate issues, minimizing the impact on sexual performance — a common concern for men.

However, our men often suffer in silence, reluctant to discuss their fears or discomfort with friends, family or even their doctors.

It’s time for us to break this cycle of silence. Just as we have championed breast cancer awareness, let us now champion our men’s health. We can create an environment in which men feel more comfortable opening up and seeking the care they need.

Ladies, our mission extends beyond advocating for ourselves and our sisterhood; it encompasses advocating for the men in our lives with the same passion and determination.

We have fathers, brothers, husbands, sons and grandsons who need our advocacy. While discussing health matters may come naturally to us, it is our responsibility to bridge that gap and ensure our men receive the support they need.

Together, we can create a world where men’s health is celebrated, understood and prioritized, just as we have done for women’s health issues.

Let’s raise our voices and be the catalysts for change, empowering our men to embrace their well-being without fear or stigma.

Marla Letizia is founder of the Long-Life Era community, which encourages Americans 50 and older to rethink their later years. Contact her at Marla@LongLifeEra.com.

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