Men Grow Moustaches to Raise Awareness for Prostate Cancer in “Movember”

November 20, 2012 by  
Filed under Prostate Cancer News

November is now officially a month in which men raises awareness for prostate cancer. They specifically grow moustache to let everyone know about the challenges of prostate health.

Funds raised in the Movember event are used to support foundations and institutions that one way or the other provides research or treatments for those living with prostate cancer.

In many parts of the US, men are now changing their faces to help solve prostate problems. More details below:

Could growing a mustache up top help educate men about cancer down there?

That’s the theory of an international public health campaign that’s landed in Utah.

Called Movember, it has enlisted an estimated 1 million men around the world to sport facial hair this month. The Mo Bros, as they’re called, act as ambassadors. As their friends, co-workers or strangers ask about what they’re growing on their face, they can say they’re cultivating a ’stache to raise awareness about men’s health issues, in particular prostate and testicular cancer.

They also raise money — $126 million worldwide last year — to give to groups, including the Prostate Cancer Foundation and the Livestrong Foundation.

While the conversations may start in jest, those “billboards under our noses initiate really important ones,” said Jason Hincks, chief operating officer of Movember.

“Guys aren’t good at engaging with their health,” he added. “They have to be pushed along to get their annual health checks.”

Alan Weeks, 63, didn’t have to do much prodding to get his co-workers to sign up for a ’stache. The e-commerce director at Larry H. Miller Toyota in Murray was brainstorming ways the dealership could get involved in a community project to raise awareness of social or health issues when a colleague from Seattle mentioned Movember.

Weeks looked up the website, registered and signed up 32 co-workers the next day.

Some grumbled because they already had mustaches or beards and had to shave them to start the month. But Weeks reminded them, “You might literally save somebody’s life.”

Movember didn’t start so seriously. It began in Australia, where a group of men decided over drinks and reminiscing about the 1970s to grow mustaches. They did it in November because it was one of the 30 men’s birthdays that month.

They noticed their changing appearances generated a lot of buzz and decided they should turn it into something more than fun, Hincks said. The next year 450 people joined and raised $45,000 (U.S.), which was donated to a prostate cancer foundation.

The campaign crossed the shores in 2007, and today people in 21 countries have officially signed up.

Hincks said the campaign is inspired by breast cancer awareness activities, with their ubiquitous pink ribbons and fundraising efforts that have hammered home the importance of early testing and detection.

Nothing like that exists for men, who have a shorter life expectancy than women by an average of five years. One in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime and 28,000 men are projected to die of the disease this year, according to the Movember website.

Prostate cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death for men in the U.S. and Utah.

According to the Utah Department of Health, all men over age 40 should visit their doctor for a routine health visit, which should include a conversation about prostate cancer screening.

Compared to the U.S., Utah has a slightly lower percentage of men over age 40 who have ever been screened, at almost 60 percent compared to 62 percent. Utah men are also more likely to develop the cancer than men elsewhere. An average of 190 Utah men died each year of prostate cancer from 2005 to 2009, according to health department data. More details here.

So, you too can join the Mo’bros to create awareness for prostate cancer. The campaign has been helpful and has yielded great funds that have been used to improve research in the field of prostate cancer.

This cancer kills about 30,000 yearly in the US and about one-quarter of million men are diagnosed with it.

As a survivor, a family member, friend, colleague and acquaintance, grow moustache in Movember and help the cause of prostate cancer.

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