MOVEMBER: The starting line

with Dr. Nick Slowinski


Well it is that time of year again, the leaves have begun to fall, and the lips are getting chilly. I’m talking Movember people!

For those who just decided to fall off the proverbial “turnip truck”, let’s clear the air on why this is important. I’m getting into the WHY behind this movement; WHY we must strive to change the face of mens health…LITERALLY!

If you weren’t aware, there are a few MAJOR health risks that men everywhere need to be on the look out for. That’s right – ALL MEN, NO EXCEPTIONS. And those “dusters” we’re growing is a great way to raise awareness.

This is a bit of a lengthy BUT IMPORTANT POST, so sorry in advance. Lets dive in!

Before I jump right to the scary stuff, I wanted to briefly share why Movember is an important time for me. Simply put, it is a call to action…I HAVE TO do what I can, to do my part! My motivation is clear…I remember the faces of family members, friends and teammates who have been harmed by those very things that Movember is striking out against, and I have to act!

Every year I attempt to grow a ‘bad ass’ moustache (perhaps this will be the year) to spread awareness. In addition, this year I will be starting my own fundraising campaign in which I will not only be attempting to perfect my upper lip warmer, but also laying down an open challenge. This challenge is not just to myself, but to anyone willing to make a difference…I will be embarking on some form of physical activity daily for at least 30+ minutes.
I’ll do what I can to keep the dedicated followers out there entertained on Instagam: @dr.nickslowinski 

Enter shameless plug!

For those who are interested in supporting my cause, donations can be made at the following link to “my mo space”

Now the good folks at Movember have 3 primary health concerns of men that they built their campaign around. So let’s break them down…


I want to touch on what has become an alarming cause of death in men, of all ages. Suicide and mental health. This is a heavy subject, so much so that amongst us bros and bro-ettes we have all either been directly affected by suicide, or know someone who has.

Mental health is not a sprained ankle; people cannot just walk it off and rub dirt in it to make it go away. Not convinced? Well according to the stats and facts on a global scale, EVERY MINUTE a man dies by suicide…and if that’s not wild enough to comprehend, think of this: in Canada alone, 75% of all suicides are MEN. So what can we do about it?

Simply put, we need to be BETTER BROS. I’m not saying you need to give every bro a big hug (although it would probably help), but across the board bros of all ages need to TALK MORE.

These conversations can be hard…but it is important to be ‘a man of MORE WORDS’.

AND GUESS WHAT?! The smart folks who run the Movember website have made it easier. That is to say if you suspect a friend or loved one is battling with mental health concerns, all you have to remember is: A.L.E.C.!

  • Ask
  • Listen
  • Encourage action
  • Check in

For specific tips on how to use this model I encourage you to check the following link for Men’s Mental Health & Suicide Prevention.

There are a few podcasts available on the website that are worth a listen. I should add, if you do listen to a few, and you happen to “catch some feelings”, be sure to CRY LIKE A MAN…Kleenex or toilet paper works great for tears.


I also want to talk about the health concern that could affect young and healthy gentlemen. That’s right, I’m talking about testicular cancer! It is an unfortunate fact that testicular cancer is the most common cancer in young men between the age of 15 and 39.  Generally, those who are most at risk or those who have had undescended testes at birth, have a family history, like a father or brother who has had testicular cancer, or if you’ve had testicular cancer before.

How do you know if something is wrong?

Well the best way is to KNOW YOUR NUTS! That’s right, give them a feel every now and again and see if something is off. For a quick comic relief of a serious article click here: MOVEMBER’S KNOW THY NUTS. Also here is a link from the Movember campaigns website on “How to appropriately do a self-exam”!

Now listen guys, DON’T BE THAT GUY that ignores what your body is telling you. If you find something, go to your doctor and get it checked out! Share this document with your buddies, your father, your brother(s), your co-workers, training partners, etc… got it BRO?

Fortunately, testicular cancer is a highly treatable cancer and can often be cured, if diagnosed and treated early. Advanced testicular cancer can also be cured with treatment including:

  • Orchiectomy (surgical removal of the affected testis), done under general anesthetic
  • Chemotherapy or radiotherapy, often prescribed after surgery to treat any remaining cancer cells that may have spread to other parts of the body, such as lymph nodes


Let’s talk about PROSTATE CANCER… the second leading cause of cancer in men world wide. LISTEN BRO, your risk of developing prostate cancer increases with age, but that doesn’t mean it’s a disease that only affects old men.  A staggering 1 in every 8 men in Canada will be diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point in their lifetime. Across Canada, there are more then 200,000 men living with and beyond prostate cancer, many of which are still dealing with serious side effects from treatment.

IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE LIKE THIS – and Movember is working hard to help experts to collaborate and improve treatment outcomes for men and more info can be found on their website.

There are some facts that I need to share with everyone, man or women…

Men who are of African or Caribbean descent, and men who have a family history (a brother or father with prostate cancer), are 2.5x more likely to get prostate cancer.

If you’re 50, you should be talking to your doctor about PSA testing. If you’re of African or Caribbean descent or have a brother or father with prostate cancer, you need to start that conversation at 45.

You should also go see your doctor if you have any of the below things going on and get the aforementioned test:

Signs and symptoms

  • A need to urinate frequently, especially at night
  • Difficulty starting urination or holding back urine
  • Weak or interrupted flow of urine
  • Painful or burning urination
  • Difficulty in having an erection
  • Painful ejaculation
  • Blood in urine or semen
  • Frequent pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips, or upper thighs

Now if your are one of the many men who are diagnosed with prostate cancer after speaking with your doctor, I highly recommend speaking with your doctor in further detail regarding your treatment options. Don’t just Google things all ‘willy nilly”, but be informed. Visit the following page: it’s a good place to start!

REMEMBER: if detected early the survival rate beyond 5 years is 98%, but that number drops off to 26% if detected late.

I hope this article was helpful to at least one bro out there, remember, we are all in this together!

-Dr. Nick