Movember – yes, that’s spelled correctly – is a global movement of men and women committed to raising awareness about men’s health issues around the world. During November, thousands of guys will be growing moustaches to raise awareness and funds for men’s health. Since 2003, when 30 individuals met in Melbourne, Australia, this movement has grown to almost two million people worldwide who have raised over $300 million to support the men’s health cause. The funds raised in Canada support men’s health, specifically mental health and prostate cancer initiatives.
Why men? The answer is likely that men tend to “deal with” their health concerns differently from women. Whereas women have proactively and publicly addressed their heath issues, this has generally not been so with men. Today, as a consequence, the levels of awareness, the understanding of importance, and funding for men’s health issues like prostate cancer, lag significantly behind causes such as breast cancer awareness, championed by women.
According to Movember, the state of men’s health in Canada is generally poor.
The reasons are many and complex and this is primarily due to a lack of awareness about the kinds of health issues men face. Traditionally, many men have been reluctant to discuss the subject openly, many wrapping it instead with an “I’ll be all right” attitude. For any number of reasons, men are less likely to schedule medical appointments for annual physical check-ups. They are also less likely to learn about their health risks and family history of illness. As a result, opportunity for early detection of and treatment for not only prostate cancer but also other common diseases is lost.
Statistics show that prostate cancer is the most common cancer in Canadian men. One in seven men can expect to develop prostate cancer during his lifetime. Although there is no single cause of prostate cancer, some factors appear to increase the risk of getting it. One factor is aging. Prostate cancer is not very common in men under 50 but the chance increases after 50 and is diagnosed most often in men over 65. A second factor is family history, particularly if a first-degree relative (such as a father or brother) has been diagnosed with the disease. Although other factors, like a diet high in fats, have some association with prostate cancer, further research is needed to clarify the specific role of these factors.
The good news is that prostate cancer is highly curable if caught in its early stages. It’s time to talk with your doctor if you’re a man and 1) will soon be 50 years old, 2) are over 50 and you haven’t yet talked about prostate cancer with your doctor, 3) may be at a higher risk of developing prostate cancer because you have a family history or 4) show symptoms such as changes in bladder habits.
So, if you happen to see moustaches being sported this November by men who normally have clean-shaven faces, chances are they are working to initiate conversations with and spread awareness among men about issues that can improve men’s health outcomes.
Submitted by Agassiz Community Health (with credit to Movember)