Nick’s take on: the meaning of Movember

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by Nick Owens

November is the month where men grow moustaches. But, there is more to this time of year than simply growing a bit of goofy looking facial hair. Here’s a brief overview of why this is an important month to “miss a spot” while shaving.

Raising Funds

One of the first parts of Movember is the fact that it helps raise money for prostate and testicular cancer. All cancers are different and cost a lot of money to develop treatments for. Furthermore, as is stated on the Movember foundation’s website, “Guys facing prostate cancer and testicular cancer face an uphill battle before, during, and after treatment.” the Movember Canada website accounts. Donations made to the Movember foundation help men through these times as well as help with initiatives to spread awareness of these issues.

Spreading Awareness

One important factor of Movember is that it spreads awareness about the preventative measures for the issues at hand. One area in particular that evidently needs more awareness is testicular cancer. According to surveys conducted by Forum Research, most men don’t even know that they can regularly check themselves for testicular cancer. Regular self-examination for any irregularities can give you an early warning of testicular cancer.

There are many forms of testicular cancer that can be treated if caught early. The longer you wait, the more dangerous it becomes and the more aggressive treatment is required. So, it’s very important to spread awareness that you can check yourself to catch it early and avoid developing a more dangerous affliction.

Prostate cancer is another matter. It’s recommended that you talk with your doctor at 50 years old about prostate cancer and the potential for being tested. However, like many other forms of cancer, prostate cancer can be linked to genetics.

So, if anyone in your family has ever been diagnosed with prostate cancer, it’s important to start having this conversation early, around 45. Doing so could save your life.

Relieving stigma

This part of Movember is arguably the most important. According to recent surveys, men are less likely to talk about health issues than women and are about twice as likely as women to put off seeing a doctor. While researching this article, I came across a case where someone once had a scare with testicular cancer but had put off going to the doctor because they felt awkward about it.

Luckily, his results were negative but, had he had worse issues, the extra time that he took before seeing a doctor could have led to permanent health issues or even death. The idea of having your prostate or testicles examined may seem like an awkward subject but both are very important to ensure that these issues are caught early. Any stigma around these issues should end immediately.

about mental health

Mental health is a serious topic that affects both men and women alike but men feel less willing to reach out to friends or family involving issues of mental health. Suicide, in any form, is always a tragedy. If you are having mental health issues, it’s important to reach out for help.

Even if the conversation about the mental health issues affecting men starts in November, it should last all year. If men were more willing to reach out about depression, anxiety, or any other issues of mental health, suicide would decrease. So, if you or anyone that you know is having trouble, start the conversation now.

Get out there and grow those ‘staches, gents. Go to Movember.com to make a donation or join a Movember team. If you can’t make a donation, simply become a part of the conversation. Having open conversations about men’s health and about mental health can go a long way to prevent these issues from getting worse.