The month of November ignites a movement called “Movember” that is of worldwide scale. During this month, men all around the world begin the task of growing a Mustache as a symbol of charity, for raising awareness about men’s health issues especially that prostate cancer, testicular cancer and mental health issues.
The ‘No-Shave November’ or ‘Movember’ movement started in 2003 when two close friends from Australia – Luke Slattery and Travis Garone, just whimsically decided one day to rekindle the fashion of growing moustaches among men by convincing all the friends in their circle to grow one. They were inspired by the brave efforts of a friend’s mother, who was fundraising for breast cancer. They decided to make the mustache a symbol for raising people’s awareness towards men’s health, and the problems related to it – prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental health, and suicide prevention. The two started sending around an email titled ‘Are you man enough to be my man?’, and found 30 friends who were willing to grow a moustache for the cause.
The braveness and positivity of the first 30 volunteers brought forth the No-Shave-November movement which got worldwide appreciation. They then decided to pitch this idea into the fight against Prostate cancer, collaborating with the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia (PCFA) who agreed to accept any funds that would be raised in the 2004 campaign. In 2004, the number of volunteers increased to 480, consisting of men and women from Australia, UK and Spain, who banded together to contribute a total of $40,851 to the PCFA.
Since its inception in 2003, the Movember foundation has brought together both men and women from all over the world, working together to create the massive global movement known to us as “Movember”, getting together more than 6.5 million ‘Mo Bros’ and ‘Mo Sisters’ in 2020, raising more than $710 million and funding over 1,250 men’s health projects.
Raising Prostate Cancer Awareness
Prostate cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers in men. More than 1.4 million men are diagnosed with prostate cancer globally each year. There are hundreds of millions of men worldwide engaged in battle with this disease and many are dealing with serious side effects from prostate cancer treatment.
The Movember movement has spent years researching the causes behind and effects of prostate cancer, and brought progress forward by 50 years through this research – by thinking differently, collaborating globally and investing quickly on things that have the greatest impact. Uniting researchers and experts across the world, innovating and collaborating together to put forth breakthroughs in prostate cancer, from early detection to diagnosis, treatment and support.
The Battle Against Testicular Cancer
Although the odds of survival for men with testicular cancer are better than good, greater than 95% – still, for a lot of men, long-term treatment-related side effects is a serious issue, and their collective quality of life is severely compromised. The focus of the Movember movement is primarily on getting these predominantly young men back to living full and healthy lives, through breakthroughs in testicular cancer treatment, all the way from early prognosis to diagnosis, innovative treatment techniques and mental, moral and emotional support. More than the cure, the efforts are about better quality of life.
Through its Global Action Plan (GAP) initiatives, Movember collaborates with leading researchers worldwide in order to discover key research areas in testicular cancer. Some GAP projects include the development of diagnostic tests involving biomarkers, that will optimise treatment decisions through to cutting-edge imaging initiatives. Since 2011, Movember has invested $30.3 million to establish numerous international research initiatives to address some of the most challenging questions in testicular cancer. Movember has also funded some of the largest comprehensive sequencing studies of testicular tumours till date. This in turn, has led to several ground-breaking discoveries that has improved the human understanding of testicular cancer and how to treat it effectively.
Mental Health and Suicide Prevention
On an average globally, the rate of male suicide is alarmingly high, with approximately 4 in 5 suicides being men, and one man dying by suicide every minute of every day. Movember looks at mental health through the perspective of a male, keeping its focus on prevention, early intervention, health promotion, and working towards a world where men actively take decisions towards being mentally well, and openly receive the support of those around them.
Suicide is an incredibly complex issue to address, but it can be tackled by taking a clear course of action – improving overall mental health and helping men establish better social connections, helps reduce the risk of suicide. By uniting experts, funding bold new approaches and embracing fresh perspectives, Movember hopes to reduce the rate of male suicide by 25% by 2030.
Fighting the Men’s Health Crisis
Men’s health is in crisis. Men are dying on average five years earlier than women, and for largely preventable reasons. A growing number of men – around 10.8 million globally – are facing life with a prostate cancer diagnosis. Globally, testicular cancer is the most common cancer among young men. And across the world, one man dies by suicide every minute of every day, with males accounting for 69% of all suicides.
Movember, as a collective, is uniquely placed to address this crisis on a global scale. Funding ground-breaking projects all over the world, engaging men where they are to make them understand what works best for them, and accelerating change in managing men’s health.