Movember is a charitable organization that strives to support men’s health throughout the year, but especially in the month of November, when men are encouraged to grow moustaches to raise awareness and support for prostate cancer.

Terry Skidnuk, a health and wellness specialist from our Wellness team, has a personal connection to Movember’s cause—it has played a part in his wellness journey and how he takes action to maintain his personal health.

“My dad and grandfather were both diagnosed with prostate cancer, so I know that puts me at a higher risk, regardless of how healthy I live my life. In fact, both my parents and my brother (who was only in his early forties) died of different forms of cancer, so those were obviously very difficult times to get through.

It also weighs on me mentally at times. I sometimes think ‘when am I going to get diagnosed?’, especially now that I’m in my fifties. When I start to feel an unusual pain, sometimes it sets off a trigger like, ‘is this going to be something serious?’

It’s not a good way to live life and thankfully those thoughts don’t overwhelm me. I don’t live in fear, but it is still in the back of my mind. I try to maintain good sense about my health and be smart, since I only have so much control over when and if I get such a diagnosis. But there are some very important things I can do for better health, peace of mind and quality of life. Those include practicing healthy habits, enjoying each day and maintaining regular check-ups with my doctor. I advise those things for everyone.

Chances are you don’t wait for something to go wrong on your car before deciding to do some basic maintenance like an oil change or tune up. But for our bodies, the most precious thing we have, men often tend to wait for symptoms to appear before deciding to see a doctor. Sadly, sometimes when symptoms are evident, a disease can be fairly advanced and more difficult to treat.

Regardless of our age, whether in our twenties or fifties, it’s important to get a regular check-up. Your doctor will advise you on what tests are most applicable for you based on your age, health condition and family history, so let them guide the process. But remember, it’s a crucial part of ongoing self-care that we need to be mindful of.

For me, if something seems off, I’ll just go get it checked out. Given my family history, my doctor understands and has been great in sending me for some different tests along the way just to keep on top of things. It also helps me psychologically, so I don’t worry or live with anxiety. If I do get diagnosed with cancer or any illness, the sooner it’s detected, the better my chances of beating it and being able to continue enjoying the great gift of life.”

For more men’s health information and to support Movember, visit their website. Alberta Blue Cross® members can visit our Balance® site for resources and trackers to help you maintain your health and wellness.

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