This past month, you've probably noticed a lot of new beards and mustaches. They're part of a movement coined as Movember. It is designed to bring more attention to men's health issues; because let's be honest, sometimes guys could use a swift kick in the rear to get themselves to the doctor.
Dan Phillips and his father, Bruce were part of that group in need of a good rear-kicking. But now, they are pretty open about everything.
Bruce is a career firefighter and a bit of a tough guy; not a really big fan of doctors or hospitals. That is, until his diagnosis.
"It was a pinhead and they caught it on an exam," Dan said as he described the moment his dad was diagnosed with bladder cancer. I'm just as bad as he is and I've just been damn fortunate. I just got through with my exam and it was all clean."
Dan is no stranger to the "C" word. His son battled testicular cancer at the age of 25. His friend has battled prostate cancer for the past five years. Despite all of this, Dan always managed to find an excuse to avoid the doctor's office.
"It's the monster in the closet that we're all worried about, right? And you're just afraid to go in and get that bad news, so you put it off."
He's not alone... many men in their 40's and 50's avoid going to the doctor. The Movember Foundation points to this as one of the reasons men die an average of six years younger than women.
Dr. Richard Pelman, a urologist with UW Medicine wishes men would take more responsibility for their health. "What we would like guys to do is to understand that they need to do self-maintenance, the same way they would take care of their car."
One available tool is the Cardiovascular Calculator, which allows men to track their own cholesterol and blood pressure and determine whether they are at risk for heart disease and stroke.
While there are many different threats to a man's health, there is one major solution: Get a check-up. The Movember Foundation hopes this annual reminder continues to push more men into the doctor's office.
Another UW Medicine doctor, Dr. Jonathan Wright, is a big fan of the foundation: "Movember helps everybody talk about their health. It makes the men focus on their health, and they also have to answer to their spouses and friends, 'what are you doing for your health?'"
It has also raised more than $700-million in the last 12 years, and millions of that money comes back to the Seattle area for research.
You can learn more about Movember and men's health tools with these links: