HealthLife StyleSociety

Men’s Health or ‘Men’s Health?’

A few months ago, I was up in Boston accepting an award for using humor in my men’s health awareness efforts. As I entered South Station to head home, I noticed a medium-sized banner that hung in the entrance. It proudly proclaimed, “NOW ARRIVING: Something New in Men’s Health!”

I walked through the arch, hoping to see something that helped spread awareness for various men’s health conditions, especially those that are stigmatized in society, such as testicular or prostate cancers. What I saw let me down—although it was claimed that it would be “guaranteed to get me up.”

Banners roughly 25 feet in length dangled from the ceiling, advertising “Discrete, fast delivery for [erectile dysfunction pills]” and “Rock bottom prices to help you stay erect all day and night.”

To me, this is not men’s health. Don’t call Viagra a men’s health product. For that matter, let’s stop pretending Rogaine and similar goods are men’s health necessities. If you cannot get hard or your hair falls out, you won’t necessarily lose your life—although I know many guys may feel that way in the figurative sense. However, if you do not perform regular self-exams of your testicles and get your regular prostate screenings (when you become of appropriate age), your chances of literal death increases drastically.

Whether we want to discuss it as a society or not, testicular cancer is the most common cancer in young men and prostate cancer is the most deadly male-specific condition. Imagine if those banners took the time to share important facts, risk factors, and information about preventative screenings.

Boston’s South Station literally serves thousands of people every day. Advertising ED pills instead of sharing actual information about men’s health seems like a missed opportunity.

Sharing the real, important facts could have had such a huge, positive impact on our population. We need to focus in on the things that can have an impact on our bodies, inside and out. If it’s easy to advertise for erectile dysfunction, it should be even easier to promote regular functioning of one’s scrotum.

Let’s get the men’s health train moving in a better direction. The South Station is the best place to start helping men take care of their own south stations.

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