Quick: when you think of November, what immediately comes to mind? Turkey with all the trimmings? Shorter days? Black Friday sales?
What about hairy mustaches?
For more and more men around the world (and the women who love them), November has become “Movember” and is all about the stache. But this focus on the facial hair isn’t just guys exploring their hipster sides. These are staches for a cause.
What started as a bunch of guys looking for a way to compete over growing mustaches 15 years ago has morphed into an international campaign each November; its goal is to spread awareness about men’s health issues and raise money to support the organizations dedicated to fighting those issues. The Movember Foundation addresses some of the biggest health issues faced by men: prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental health, and suicide prevention.
Each November, men are encouraged to grow a mustache and raise money and awareness around some major threats to men’s health, which has them dying about six years earlier on average than women from largely-preventable causes.
The rules for Movember are pretty simple.
- Sign up: choose to grow this Movember
- Start to grow: begin with a clean shave and then let nature take its course
- Raise funds: let your whiskers start conversations and ask friends and family members to support your stache and donate
For 30 days, you and your mustache can help shine a light on this global men’s health crisis and create awareness around some of the most serious— and treatable—issues.
Prostate cancer kills hundreds of thousands of men each year
Here’s a scary fact: one out of every nine men in the U.S. will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime. In fact, it’s the second most commonly diagnosed cancer among men (after skin cancer). And African American men, as well as men with a history of prostate cancer in the family, are 2.5 times more likely to develop the disease.
Men who are diagnosed with prostate cancer often don’t experience any symptoms, which is why it’s strongly recommended that men over 50 get a blood test that screens for the disease. Researchers have also discovered that men with fertility issues are 2.5 times more likely to develop aggressive forms of prostate cancer than fertile men.
Testicular cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in young men
While it’s often seen as a younger man’s cancer, testicular cancer can strike at any age. It generally starts out as a tumor, or abnormal growth, in one or both of the testicles—where sperm is produced. If detected early, it’s a highly-treatable cancer, but could wind up causing fertility issues down the road due to chemo, radiation, or the removal of the affected testes.
If you’re considering starting a family, one way to determine whether treatment for testicular cancer has affected your fertility is by testing your sperm count with SpermCheck, an over-the-counter kit you can use at home.
Making it macho for men to talk about mental health and suicide prevention
Did you know that 75 percent of all suicides are men? Yet it’s ironically still not considered “manly” to talk about feelings. Over 6 million men suffer from depression annually, but unlike women, men appear less sad than angry or aggressive. Men are also less likely to seek help as their female counterparts.
Time to use the power of the mo to turn that story around.
Movember is the perfect time to encourage men to use their words when they’re going through a tough time and to know that it’s okay (macho even) to ask for help.
We’re losing too many good men—way too young—to things that could have been easily prevented. Movember is a fun and silly way to encourage men to embrace their hairier side, and prioritize their health while also shining a light on some very serious issues.