A blue tie affair: Men urged to get health screenings

SAN BENITO — They all wore blue ties.

Even the women wore blue ties. Those who weren’t wearing ties had a pop of blue somewhere on their ensemble.

Yesterday was an important day for the color blue. It signified and will continue to signify an important initiative for the Rio Grande Valley.

In honor of men’s health awareness month, officials with the Cameron County Department of Health and Human Services wore blue ties.

The campaign is being called “Wear One for Your Sweetie.”

Cameron County Judge Eddie Trevino Jr. read a proclamation yesterday designating the Friday before Father’s Day Blue Tie Day in Cameron County in observance of Men’s Health Awareness Month.

“On this day, we encourage Cameron County residents to wear a blue tie as a symbol of the importance of encouraging men to make healthy life choices, schedule annual checkups, and be informed of health issues that affect men, such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and others,” county health officials said.

Health Administrator Esmeralda Guajardo said the goal is to make blue ties the symbol for men’s health awareness, equivalent to what the pink ribbon is.

Cameron County Health and Human Services has partnered with Texas Oncology-Harlingen, Bass Pro Shops and the U.S. Border Patrol to raise public awareness on the importance of men’s health by participating in the first Men’s Health Awareness Fair and 5K today at Bass Pro Shops in Harlingen.

This fair is aimed at bringing awareness of preventable health problems commonly found in men by offering free health screenings, providing educational information, as well as providing information on preventive care services available for men within the community.

All proceeds will go to benefit the Texas Oncology Foundation.

The blue tie initiative is the brainchild of Guajardo and Sylvia Marroquin from Texas Oncology-Harlingen.

Guajardo urges all men even if they don’t want to, to undergo yearly health check ups and physicals.

“That one test could save a life,” she said.

Just like women, all men are encouraged to get yearly health exams.

Trevino, who read the proclamation yesterday, urged men not to ignore it.

“Those little aches and pains are the body’s way of telling us that something is wrong,” he said.

Without those tests and without men getting cancer screenings, health care providers lack the information needed to address the problems.

“If you don’t go to the doctor to get tested, we don’t know what’s affecting men,” Guajardo said.

According to the research, heart disease and cancer are the leading causes of death among men.

It is estimated that 1,000 men in Cameron County will develop colon, prostate or lung cancer this year. Early detection can save lives, Guajardo said.