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Move Over October, Movember Is Here For Men’s Health

Story by Petty Officer 3rd Class Mutis A Capizzi

USS Bataan (LHD 5)

November also known as Movember coined by the Movember Foundation committed to highlighting the mental and physical health issues that are more prevalent in men.
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention reported that suicide rates are 3.5 times higher in middle aged men than women. Men experience more degenerate health conditions longer than women and on an average, die six years earlier. It is projected that prostate cancer rates will double in the next 15 years and testicular cancer rates have already doubled within the last 50 years, according to the Movember Foundation
Bataan’s Senior Medical Officer, Cmdr. Andrew Lin, is a big advocate of the Movember movement. He shared that when most people think of prostate cancer, they think of older men; testicular cancer, on the other hand, is a young man’s disease.
“You would be surprised by the number of young Sailors (men) that I have worked with that had to be treated for testicular cancer,” said Lin. “Men are not raised to talk about their feelings or be sensitive. If men don’t talk about it, then we cannot do anything about it. We need to start the conversations that will help us in bridging the gap and give men a chance to catch up with women in terms of life longevity.”
Capt. Eric Pfister, Bataan’s commanding officer, could not agree more. He shared that while he was growing up, talking about health was a topic rarely discussed by his father and himself.
“I used to think I was bullet-proof or that I could just sweat it out or take it easy if I wasn’t feeling well,” said Pfister. “Now, I recognize that our bodies speak to us and we need to respect what their saying.”
Pfister went on to say that his paternal grandfather died of cancer from smoking all his life. As a result, he has never smoked. However, when his father was diagnosed with prostate cancer and survived it not once, but twice, he realized that even an active man who didn’t smoke and rarely drank could become seriously ill.
“I learned about groups like Movember through their Ted Talks feed and decided to do my own part in raising awareness for men’s health by growing a mustache each November,” said Pfister. “Not everyone in my family enjoys the dark patch of luxury that occupies my upper lip each November. Still, when I share the reason why, people get it. Occasionally, they even join on and grow their own ‘Mo’.”
Sailors around the ship share this sentiment and also join the movement by growing mustaches, always ensuring they are within regulations, of course. Female Sailors can show their support with a custom mustache thanks to Bite Beauty founder Susanne Langmuir who was inspired by her father’s successful battle against prostate cancer. Langmuir wanted a fun, easy and meaningful way for women to support the men in their lives facing health issues.
For more information on the movement and ways to support men’s health, visit: www.movember.com. For more information about the USS Bataan (LHD 5) visit: www.bataan.navy.mil.

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