Flavour savers, lip doilies, cookie dusters and crumb catchers were on display all month in Jasper in a collective (and creepy) effort to raise awareness for men’s health.
The culmination of the caterpillars came on November 21 when the Sawridge Inn and Conference Centre hosted the second annual Movember Gala. Along with raising nearly $20,000 for Movember Canada, the Northern Alberta Urology Foundation and the Jasper Cancer Action and Support Group, the evening put the spotlight on testicular and prostate cancer as Dr. Michael Chetner, a urological surgeon from Edmonton, spoke to the challenges and successes of his medical field.
“We have seen patients delay coming in for treatment until their tumour has grown to the size of a grapefruit,” he said. “Testicular cancer has a 99 per cent cure rate. It’s curable, it’s just a matter of detection.”
Prostate cancer is more complicated, Chetner said. The leading cancer among males is less easy to detect, making regular check-ups all the more important.
“If it goes undetected it isn’t easily treated,” he added.
Jasperite Travis Moorehouse continued the sobering line of talk. As an emergency services worker and a volunteer firefighter, he has seen the effects that poor mental health can take on people. He said men in particular are reluctant to ask for help when they need it.
“Poor mental health can lead to poor physical health. The key is prevention. Ask for help. Talk to someone, whether it’s your family, friends or your doctor,” he urged.
Pierre Frigon could relate. Three years ago, during a routine check up, his doctor noted the levels of his prostate-specific antigens (PSAs), a protein produced by the cells of the prostate gland, were elevated. Frigon was eventually referred to Dr. Chetner, whose expertise helped him beat prostate cancer. Frigon, who was the leading organizing force behind the gala, emphasized the message that we all need to work to change the face of men’s health.
“The more we talk about men’s health in the open the more we can start to address it,” he said.
A dozen or so moustache-sporting men (and a couple women, sans soup strainers) in Jasper signed onto the Movember Canada fundraising campaign. At last tally, fire chief Greg Van Tighem was leading the charge with $552 raised.