November and Men’s Health Awareness: What Veterans With Mesothelioma Should Know

4 Min Read

an older male patient has a check up with a female doctor

A wide range of men’s health awareness events take place during the month of November. These include Movember and International Men’s Day. This November, veterans who served between the 1930s and 1980s need to take stock of their health. These veterans may be at risk of mesothelioma, a deadly cancer caused by asbestos exposure that mainly affects men.

Raising Awareness About Men’s Health in November

While events in November are often overshadowed by Thanksgiving, there are plenty of other important dates in the month. Some of the most important and lesser-known involve men’s health.

These events are crucial for all men to recognize, but especially older veterans who could be at risk of health problems like mesothelioma.

Days and events that focus on men’s health in November include:

  • International Men’s Day: Celebrated on November 19, this day seeks to highlight positive male role models in local communities and bring awareness to the health challenges that men face. The day’s official website lists health problems men face, like heart disease and lung cancer, but men are also at a higher risk of asbestos-related cancers like mesothelioma.
  • Movember: This event, celebrated throughout the month of November, also serves to increase awareness around men’s health issues. Men are encouraged to grow mustaches to bring attention to men’s health problems like prostate cancer and higher suicide rates.

All of these days and events highlight the importance for men to stay on top of their health — particularly veterans who served between the 1930s and early 1980s.

These veterans may have been exposed to a dangerous substance called asbestos. Veterans exposed to asbestos decades ago can develop deadly cancers today — often with little warning, as mesothelioma’s symptoms are mild until it spreads through the body.

Veterans account for roughly 33% of all mesothelioma cases. Almost all cases of mesothelioma are deadly, though accessing treatment before the cancer spreads can help patients live longer.

During November and beyond, veterans who may have been exposed to asbestos should take steps to stay as healthy as possible.

Men’s Health Fast Facts

  • Men are four times more likely to develop mesothelioma than women are, as many industries that relied on asbestos were male-dominated.
  • The vast majority of U.S. veterans with mesothelioma are men.
  • Women typically live five years longer than men in the United States.
  • Approximately 80% of the suicides in the U.S. involve men.

How to Participate in Men’s Health Awareness Activities

Veterans who were exposed to asbestos or who have mesothelioma can get involved in a number of ways this November. Find some men’s health ideas and tips below.

Know the Risks of Military Asbestos Exposure

Men who served in the military decades ago may realize that they were exposed to life-threatening toxins like Agent Orange. But since mesothelioma only affects roughly 3,000 people a year, veterans may not be as aware of the dangers.

Make no mistake, though — exposure to asbestos during military service can have deadly consequences for veterans. There is no safe level of asbestos exposure.

Veterans exposed to asbestos may develop:

Thankfully, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has stepped up to help veterans affected by mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases.

A wide range of VA benefits are available to veterans with mesothelioma, allowing them to access top treatment from some of the world’s best doctors, as well as monthly financial payouts.

If a veteran you love may have been exposed to asbestos, make sure they know the potential risks and resources available to them. Get a free veterans packet today for more information.

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  • Top Treatment
  • Best Doctors
  • Improving Prognosis

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Get a Health Screening

A simple health screening is a great way to make sure you’re avoiding long-term or serious medical problems. Early detection of chronic illnesses or aggressive cancers goes a long way toward improving a man’s overall health.

Getting a health screening can also help doctors look for possible signs and symptoms of mesothelioma. Common symptoms include a cough, shortness of breath, weight loss, and fatigue. Catching mesothelioma early on is crucial, as the cancer is harder to treat if it spreads.

Veterans who have health care through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) can get screened at local military hospitals.

Growing Facial Hair

Growing facial hair is a way to raise awareness about men’s health through the month of November, as noted by the organizers behind Movember.

Growing mustaches and other kinds of facial hair allows you to stand in solidarity with men going through battles with cancer, suicidal thoughts, and other serious health issues.

You can also donate to Movember, which uses the money to fund cancer tests and projects that can improve men’s mental health.

Participate in Local Events

While Movember and International Men’s Day are large-scale events, there are plenty of activities that may be happening on a local scale. These events are a great way to get involved and raise awareness.

Local events may include:

  • Disc golf tournaments
  • Races
  • Trivia events
  • Other fundraisers

Find a local event near you using the Movember calendar. If there isn’t an event close by, consider creating your own (following all COVID protocols and taking your own health into account, especially if you’re fighting cancer).

Staying Safe and Healthy Through November and Beyond

Men’s health awareness has a unique focus in November. That said, people can be diagnosed with mesothelioma at any time. It’s important for men exposed to asbestos — especially older veterans — to closely monitor their health.

This November, use one of the activities listed above as a springboard into a healthier life. While there is no way to reduce your risk of mesothelioma after being exposed, an early diagnosis and aggressive treatments can help you live for months or even years.

The Mesothelioma Veterans Center is proud to help men who served their country and are now battling mesothelioma, along with anyone else affected by this deadly cancer.

Get our free veterans packet today for information on mesothelioma treatments, VA benefits, and more.

Veterans Support Team
Christopher Dryfoos PhotoWritten by:

Contributing Author

Christopher Dryfoos is a journalist and member of the American Medical Writers Association (AMWA). As the grandson of the U.S. Navy’s first forensic pathologist, he aims to help veterans with mesothelioma access needed care.

View 4 Sources
  1. International Men’s Day. (2018, May 24). Challenges. Retrieved November 12, 2021, from https://internationalmensday.com/challenges/
  2. American Cancer Society. (2017). Cancer Facts & Figures 2017. Retrieved November 12, 2021, from https://www.cancer.org/content/dam/cancer-org/research/cancer-facts-and-statistics/annual-cancer-facts-and-figures/2017/cancer-facts-and-figures-2017.pdf
  3. Movember. (n.d.). Men die on average 5 years earlier than women. Retrieved November 12, 2021, from https://us.movember.com/about/cause
  4. Shmerling, R. (2020, June 22). Why men often die earlier than women. Retrieved November 12, 2021, from https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/why-men-often-die-earlier-than-women-201602199137