What is Movember?
If the cynic in you thinks that Movember is just something hipsters do as an excuse to grow a moustache, you couldn’t be further from the truth. No matter what your opinion is of other people’s facial hair choices, you need to understand why people get involved in Movember, and what you can do.
Essentially, the month of November is devoted to men’s health and raising awareness around conditions that don’t get enough airtime. This includes the massive stigma around mental health and encouraging men and boys to talk about their feelings, the sooner the better. The well-known support that Movember campaigns for is mostly prostate and testicular cancer, so when you see that upper lip line of fuzz, remember to check your testicles, or your man’s testicles, or tell your man friend to check his.
The idea is that friends, family and colleagues put money in a pot whilst they watch you go from clean-shaven to mo-tastic through the month of November. So, if you already have a beard, half of the money is going to come from keen punters who have never seen you fresh-faced before.
Sadly, not all of us are capable of growing even a wisp of hair on our upper lip, so rather than get angry in frustration, why don’t you get active instead? We know it’s not exactly a fair deal, running over just sitting there growing facial hair, but it’s for a good cause and can save lives so stop complaining and start training!
You can find out more information on the Movember website: uk.movember.com/
Some worrying statistics:
In 2014, there were 60 deaths from testicular cancer despite the survival rate of this particular cancer remaining quite high at 98%.
However, in 2014 there were 11,287 deaths from prostate cancer out of a shocking 46,690 cases. More than 8 in 10 men diagnosed will survive their disease for ten years or more and prostate cancer survival is improving all the time. Early diagnosis is so important for the treatment of this cancer, so awareness is key.
Suicide is the biggest killer of all. If you are a man between the age of 20 and 49, you’re more likely to die from that, than cancer, road accidents, or heart disease. It’s the biggest threat we face, the number one killer. In 2015, there were 6,188 deaths registered in the UK as suicides, 75% of these were males and one-quarter were females.
Communication will save lives:
The self-exam for testicular cancer is really easy and you should do it at least once a month, in the shower, whenever you’re thinking about it. If your partner doesn’t check, you can check for them. All you need to do is check one testicle at a time by holding it between your thumb and finger and feeling around for hard lumps, smooth bumps, and changes in size, shape or consistency, so get to know your testicles and go to see a urologist if they ever feel different.
Prostate cancer is more difficult to see symptoms for but if you notice any changes such as needing to urinate more often than usual or you’re having difficulty urinating such as straining, not feeling completely empty or dribbling after you finish, make sure you go and get checked out. Prostate cancer is serious, and if you don’t go for regular checks with your doctor you could be putting yourself at risk.
When it comes to suicide, it really comes down to a case of having time for the people around you, making sure they’re OK and giving them the time of day to tell you when they’re not. We are all guilty of not providing enough attention to people and too much to attention to our phones. Take time out of your day to consider whether people in your community are being themselves and look out for signs that they’re keeping something under wraps. If you’re feeling suicidal thoughts yourself, reach out to someone you trust or if you’d rather talk to someone with no ties, you can call a number of people for help and advice:
Samaritans – 116 123 (UK)
CharitySANE – 0300 304 7000
Papyrus – Call: 0800 068 41 41 or Text: 07786 209697
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