Contributor: Sharon Chen
Movember is an annual mustache-growing event to fundraise and raise awareness for men’s health. Starting with a fresh, clean, shaved face on November 1st, ”Mo Bros” grow and groom their mustaches throughout all of Movember. No beards, no goatees, and no fake mustaches are allowed. Growing these mustaches helps to start conversations and raise funds for various aspects of men’s health.
On average, men die 4.5 years earlier than women and many of the causes of death are generally preventable. Movember focuses on and funds three main areas of men’s health: prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and mental health and suicide prevention.
Prostate cancer occurs in the prostate, a small walnut-shaped gland in males that produces the seminal fluid that nourishes and transports sperm. Globally, more than 1.4 million men were diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2020. It is the second most common cancer in men worldwide. Men who are older, are of African or Caribbean descent, or have a family history are at a higher risk of getting prostate cancer. The key to tackling prostate cancer is early detection. The best chance for successful treatment is while the cancer is still confined in the prostate. Through Movember donations, a global prostate cancer program called True North was developed to help improve outcomes and quality of life for men diagnosed with prostate cancer.
Testicular cancer occurs in the testicles or testes, which make sperm and the hormone testosterone. It is the most common cancer among young men, typically occurring in those between the ages of 15 and 45. The first sign of testicular cancer is often a bump or lump on a testicle. Since the cancer cells can grow quickly, they often spread outside the testicle to other parts of the body. However, even when the cancer has spread, testicular cancer is still highly treatable and highly curable (although it is always better to catch it early on). Treatment varies depending on the type of cancer and cell that the cancer starts in. Movember also provides various tools to tackle testicular cancer through their website Nuts & Bolts.
Across the world, one man dies by suicide every minute of every day, with males accounting for 69% of all suicides. This high suicide rate is linked to various male stereotypes that make it harder for men to communicate their emotions and struggles. Societal expectations for men to be “stronger” also make them less likely to admit when they feel vulnerable, and thus, they are less likely to seek help for their mental health. Movember has provided various resources and programs for those who are seeking support as well as those who are looking to better give their support.
Besides growing mustaches, there are many other ways for people to contribute to Movember. This includes:
Moving 60 km over the month
Hosting a “Mo-ment” by gathering friends and family
Creating your own challenge with “Mo Your Own Way”
Making a donation
Encouraging men to be proactive about their health
Supporting and showing love for the moustache
Over the years, money raised during Movember has funded over 1,250 men's health projects globally. These projects mainly focus on the three main areas listed above and can range from research for new drugs and treatment plans to various mental health campaigns. Movember funds these projects both directly and in collaboration with their men’s health partners, allowing them to have a greater impact on men’s health globally.
What started with 30 men growing out mustaches in Australia back in 2003 has now become a global movement that has helped raise awareness and funds for men’s health.
To participate in Western’s Movember campaign this year, click this link: https://movember.com/n/UniversityOfWesternOntario?mc=1
To learn more about the Movember organization and its movement, click this link: https://ca.movember.com/