The month of November may bring to mind, cooler temperatures, Thanksgiving and the start of the holiday shopping season, but for a number of men, it also means something else. November is a time many men grow a moustache to participate in Movember, which is a cause that raises awareness for men’s health issues. Men involved in Movember, grow a moustache for the month not only to raise money, but to help raise awareness and start conversations about men’s health concerns. Continue reading below to find out more about Movember.
What Is Movember?
Every year on November 1st, men from around the world participate in the Movember cause by growing a moustache for the month. Although some of the men may tweak, curl or try to make their moustache unique for fun, the movement has a serious goal. The goal is to raise money and awareness for men’s health concerns, especially testicular and prostate cancer.
The men participating register through the Movember Foundation’s website. Once registered, they raise money through sponsorship and donations from family, friends, businesses and others in the community. The funds go to various organizations, which provide services, support or research for men’s health issues. For example, money raised may go to organizations, such as the Prostate Cancer Foundation, Livestrong Foundation and Global Action Plan.
Although raising funds for worthwhile organizations is part of the mission of the Movember movement, it is not the only goal. The other important aspect is raising awareness and providing education. Through the moustache-growing process, the men talk about the movement, its mission and spread the word about issues, such as prostate and testicular cancer. Another goal is to encourage men to get regular medical exams, which can detect problems early.
How It Started
The idea for Movember started in Australia in 2003, by two friends who wanted to help the moustache regain the popularity it once had. The men recruited a few dozen friends to join them in growing a moustache for fun. The next year, the men decided to make moustache growing more than just a fashion statement and turn it into a way to raise money and bring attention to health concerns. In 2004, the group formalized the movement and Movember was officially created.
The Movember movement grew quickly and men in other countries start participating. By 2008, men in countries including New Zealand, Spain, Canada and the United States became “mo bros” and the movement continues to gain popularity.
Two of the main causes the Movember movement is trying to gain awareness for are prostate and testicular cancer. By bringing attention to both diseases, the hope is more men will be aware of the risk factors, symptoms and recommended screenings.
About 16 percent of men are diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point in their life, according to the Prostate Cancer Foundation. Although any man can develop prostate cancer, risk factors include being over the age of 65, being African-American and having a family history of the disease. Symptoms include frequent urination, which may include burning or difficulty stopping the flow of urine. Additional symptoms include back pain and blood in the semen or urine.
The Movemeber Foundation also hopes to draw attention to testicular cancer. Over 8,500 men in the Unites States will be diagnosed with testicular cancer each year. Risk factors include having a family history and being HIV positive. In addition, Caucasian men are at a higher risk than men of other races.
Another priority of Movember is to help organizations that provide support and services to men with mental health issues. In the Unites States, roughly 6 million men have depression, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Men also tend to be less likely to seek professional help for mental health issues, such as depression.
Making A Difference One “Mo” At A Time
Although the movement is relatively young, it has been gaining popularity and recognition. Men in communities throughout the United States, as well as worldwide, are participating. According to the Movember Foundation, as of 2012, men in 21 countries around the world have participated. In the Unites States alone 15 million dollars was raised in 2011.
It is not only the men who participate in Movember, but the women in their lives, known as the “Mo Sistas” who also contribute. Mo Sistas, post pictures, use social media and spread the word about Movember and its mission. In addition, not everyone who wants to be part of Movember had to grow a “mo”. Around the world, community events are also held to support Movember including fundraisers and shaving parties.
Movember is a fun way to draw attention to men’s health issues, especially prostate and testicular cancer. Growing a “mo” for the month is a unique approach to help educate men on issues regarding their health, raise money for cancer research and help the public gain awareness about men’s health concerns.