You may have noticed in past years the phenomenon of men growing mustaches or full beards during the month of November. Going by various terms, including “Movember” and “No-shave November”, this movement brings a certain level of joy to those who participate and to those observers who can sit back and bask in the glory of a well-manicured Handlebar or Horseshoe. However, the origins behind the mustache movement are perhaps less well-known, but important to understand.
The movement first started in Adelaide, South Australia in 1999, when a group of young men in a pub decided to grow their mustaches for a month for charity. A separate group in Melbourne took this idea and ran with it, creating a similar event to raise awareness for prostate cancer and depression in men. This event would eventually become the Movember Foundation charity, which has since raised over $770 million for men’s health research and awareness.
November is officially Men’s Health Awareness Month, and it is incredibly necessary. Twelve percent of men age 18 or older are in poor or fair health because of a multitude of reasons. Men are 24% less likely to have visited a doctor in the past year than women. Additionally, men are less likely to openly discuss their health and how they’re feeling (sound familiar?), are more likely to have a lack of understanding and awareness of the health issues they face, and are more reluctant to take action when they don’t feel well.
Considering the lack of awareness of men’s health issues and their sometimes devastating consequences, the Movember Foundation has stepped in as the only global charity focused solely on men’s health. Their goals include:
- Reducing mortality among men from prostate cancer, testicular cancer and suicide
- Improving physical and mental wellness for men living with prostate and testicular cancer
- Increasing understanding by men and boys of how to optimize their mental health and how to take action when they experience mental health issues
So, what can you do? Visit the Movember Foundation web page to learn more about how to prevent and detect serious men’s health issues and to read stories from real men who have experienced these conditions. Or, you can man up and start growing those wispy whiskers yourself! You can start your own Movember fundraising page here. Put your frisky facial hair to work to spread awareness of serious men’s health issues.
If you or someone you know is affected by these issues, Prisma Health’s Regional Urology Men’s Health Center is here for you. We have specialists who pride themselves on helping men with every aspect of their health (and hey, if you come in November you just might catch sight of a few spectacular ‘staches while you’re there).
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