October 5, 2012

Guys - Check Your Balls!

Among other places, this poster appeared in the women's toilet in a Hobart (Tasmania) pub. Is this going too far?

Click to Enlarge Poster
We seem to live in a very pink world these days, where so much (important) attention is given to women's breast cancer awareness. Yet it seems odd to me that a poster using the word "balls" and suggesting men (and their partners) should be checking them, might be seen as more than a little provocative. Given the data on testicular and other cancers for men, maybe not!

One in 268 men will be diagnosed with cancer of the testes during their lifetime. While we often think of this as an older man's disease, while rare, it's the most common cancer in males between 15 and 45. It peaks in males in their mid-twenties. Other cancers causing death in guys include lung, prostate, bowel, and melanoma. As the poster states, men are 33% more likely to be diagnosed with cancer than women, and 30% more men will die of the disease than women! Given these numbers, it seems to me we should have more loud and bold approaches to men's balls and this aspect of men's health directed at both teem males and men.

Blue September (http://www.blueseptember.org/) is a global awareness and fundraising initiative for all men’s cancers. Blue was chosen as a men's color as pink is the preferred color for women's breast cancer awareness. Since starting in New Zealand, the Blue September movement has migrated to Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Ireland. The Blue September blokes in Australia, who created the poster, are supporting Australian Prostate Cancer Research and The Australian Cancer Research Foundation. They say each year, more than 22,000* Australian men die of cancer. For the record, the number for annual male deaths in the US is 33,000.

GO NUTS! Just one of many campaigns across the globe included a Blue September event in the US, prior to the Oakland Raiders/Pittsburgh Steelers game, September 23, 2012 (see link below). It turns out research says walnuts can improve prostate heath. In order to raise awareness about testicular and other cancers for men, prior to the game, fans were given a package of California walnuts, blue wrist bands, and health information. The jumbo screens also showed a pre-game video on the topic. What a great way to bring this topic to a male audience.

Are you willing to help get the word out to young men and adult males? It would be a sad thing to lose a guy at any age to testicular cancer just because we can't comfortably talk about gonads, nads, nuts, testicles, rocks, bollocks, sack nuggets, groin, the acorns, cracker jacks, stones, kerbangers, marbles, the yam bag, your junk, tenders, cullions, the dangly bits, pelotas, nutsack, doo-dahs, bollocks, huevos, kiwis, clappers, family jewels, cojones, the package, knackers, cods, love spuds, and yes, balls.

Here are some links to great videos and information on Blue September, testicular cancer, and Testicular Self-Exam (TSE) for men and young males:

  • A clip of Ireland's Munster Rugby Team getting painted blue for the cause.

  • A really great website, checkemlads.com run by regular guy cancer survivors. They tell moving personal stories, a very informative video clip, and some TSE instruction from straight talking men.

  • A great teen health website, kidshealth.org, with some very straight forward instructions on how to do Testicular Self-Exam (TSE).

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  1. Steve S.9:27 AM

    Earl, thanks for this important information. Here is the email I sent to the guys in my family as a result:

    Hey Family Guys,

    This blog is done by a friend of mine and this installment I believe is worth passing along. I think also you might think about friends who will benefit from this information and pass it along to them as well. While I do not begrudge the attention women receive for issues affecting their health and wellbeing, men’s legitimate issues have been relegated to the shadows mostly. Men are the most under reported victims of sexual abuse, violence perpetrated by women, prejudicial treatment in the courts, and certainly, as the article states, cancer.

    So guys, get your balls out. On a frequent basis give’em a tug and get familiar with what is normal and what seems “not quite right”.

    And do this often. After/during a hot shower or bath is best when you’re hanging low.

    Check out the web sites referenced in this great article to see what’s the best thing to do and what to look for. Ask your doctor at your next check up on what he/she recommends for an effective self-exam. And of course, a little lady help in this regard is not too much to ask is it? After all, aren’t you willing to help check for breast lumps at the drop of a hat? Maybe it’s not quite the same thing but…oh well…

    GO NUTS!!!!!

    -Peace, Steve

    PS…You might notice that I didn’t copy in the ladies on this. That’s your job to begin this conversation with them.

    PSS…Hey guys, did you know that guys get breast cancer too? No joke! Be aware.

  2. Marie L.9:29 AM

    EXCELLENT, Earl!!

    I truly wish we'd see more of this out there among the sea of pink. I've known 2 testicular cancer survivors so far, both great guys.


Your response to this blog post is appreciated and welcome.