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  • Francisco Magalhaes

Movember: Let's Talk About Men's Health

This Article was written by Francisco Magalhaes, Year 11

A few weeks ago, men around the world all stopped shaving. And if you haven't done so yourself; you might have noticed other people have sported the classic moustache look. So why do they do it?

November is a month often associated with bringing awareness to men’s health issues.

All over the world, thousands of people take part in what we call 'Movember.'

Movember is a movement dedicated to raising awareness for some of the most common health challenges faced by men: testicular cancer, prostate cancer, and mental illness.

The concept behind these movements is to go shave-free for the entire month of November. Then, participants should donate all the money they would have spent on shaving towards men’s health organisations that educate others about cancer and suicide prevention.

Illustration by Zanelle Awinyo, Year 9

Why a Moustache?

A moustache has always been a symbol of masculinity but is now what the founders call a ‘dying tradition’. The founders of Movember, Travis Garone, and Luke Slattery see the no-shave challenge as a fun way of getting men to join.

Luke Slattery said in an interview, “We are used as a Trojan horse to get men involved and discussing their health. The number one reason men get involved is because it is fun and they can do it with their mates. The cause underpins that."

From its start as a small group of friends, the nonprofit has grown into a global force.

In 2012, the Movember Foundation was ranked as one of the Top 100 non-governmental organisations in the world and has raised over one billion US dollars.

Why does 'Movember' focus on Prostate Cancer?

To understand the importance of raising awareness for prostate cancer, one has to understand the impact it has on the population. Other than skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men. It is also estimated that about 1 in 9 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime.

One of the key problems with prostate cancer is the stage at which the cancer is discovered. This is because many men are unwilling to get tested. An open discussion on this issue is needed to break this taboo. Men will have to prioritise their health over all else.

Why does 'Movember' focus on Mental Illness?

Men face various mental health issues in today's society, which aren’t often talked about in the media. This should come as a shock to most as three times as many men as women die by suicide.

The societal expectations play a role in why men are less likely to discuss or seek help for their mental health problems. It is known that gender stereotypes about women – the idea they should behave or look a certain way, can be damaging to them. But it’s important to understand that men can be damaged by stereotypes and expectations too.

Research suggests that men who cannot speak openly about their emotions are less likely to recognise symptoms of mental health problems in themselves, meaning they are less likely to look for help. The Movember Foundation attempts to break these barriers which have been put on men by society in order to incentivise an open discussion surrounding mental health.

Why does 'Movember' focus on Testicular Cancer?

Testicular cancer, compared with other types of cancer, is rare, however it is the most common cancer in males between the ages of 15 and 35. The survival rate of Testicular cancer has increased massively during the past few years and is now one of the easiest cancers to treat.

There is, however, still a taboo surrounding the testing for testicular cancer, particularly for younger males. Once again, it is important to break these barriers to reduce the death rate of testicular cancer. The Movember Foundation has donated millions of dollars to organisations such as the cancer society, which help those diagnosed with cancer and fund cancer research.

By starting a conversation and acknowledging the importance of these issues at hand by supporting movements as such is the key to overcoming the (visible/ visible) health problems faced by men all over the globe.


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