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National Men's Health Week

Questions and Answers

What is the goal of National Men's Health Week?

The purpose of National Men's Health Week is to raise national awareness among society and especially among men, of the importance of preventive health behavior in the early detection and treatment of health problems affecting men.

What is the date of National Men's Health Week?

National Men's Health Week is held the week leading up to and including Father's Day, June 9-15 2003. By holding it during the period that men receive the greatest attention and focus in our society, we are able to reach the greatest number of men and their families.

What specific health issues will be the focus of National Men's Health Week?

In addition to non-gender specific issues such as heart disease, cholesterol count, blood pressure, etc., the specific men's health issues that will be addressed include stroke, colon cancer, prostate cancer, testicular cancer, suicide, alcoholism and men's fear of doctors, among others.

By focusing on both gender and non-gender specific issues and the importance of a preventive health approach to these issues, society can reduce the risk and incidence of these problems among all individuals.

How can one week make a difference?

When the problems of women's breast cancer and its rising rates became apparent over the past several years, the designation of October as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month enabled a broad coalition of health organizations, associations, individual groups and the media to focus on the vital role that simple steps such as breast self-exams can play in preventing this deadly disease. As a result, more women than ever before are taking steps to detect and treat breast cancer at its earliest stages.

By developing an entire week on the broad range of health issues affecting men, and ultimately their families, National Men's Health Week attempts to achieve the same positive behavioral changes among men that are already being undertaken by women.

What types of changes are envisioned?

One simple change would be encouraging men to take as active a role as women do in regularly visiting their physician for basic treatment and examinations. The rate of male mortality could significantly be reduced if we could encourage men to seek treatment before symptoms have reached a critical stage.

For example, while individuals such as Bob Dole are alive today because they sought early care, others such as Muppet creator Jim Henson and Time-Warner chair Steve Ross waited far too long for medical advice.

Will women benefit from National Men's Health Week?

Despite all the advances in medical science over the past decades, the basic fact remains that women outlive men, on average, by seven years.

For many women, especially the elderly, this means nearly a decade of life without the support and care of their spouses. Not only does this create heavy emotional burdens, it increases their risk for health problems associated with living alone such as depression and suicide, as well as fueling the financial burden to society of caring for elderly parents living alone.

Groups such as the Commonwealth Fund have documented the enormous impact that this care places on the individual, their families and our society as a whole. An impact that could be severely lessened if we could increase the lifespan of men by just a couple of years.

How will society learn about National Men's Health Week?

Men and their families will be the focus of a national education campaign by the media and grass roots organizations aimed at increasing their awareness of National Men's Health Week and its goals.

How can individuals learn more about National Men's Health Week?

Individuals interested in specific information can write to:
National Men's Health Foundation
154-182 East Minor Street, Emmaus, PA 18098

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