No it’s not a dodgy used car salesman or retro porn star sat across from you on the train. It is in fact officially Moustache Season as Movember fever sweeps across the globe and across men’s top lips. For the month of Movember, formerly known as November, the Melbourne-based charity aims to raise awareness and money for men’s health charities and (like its iconic facial adornments) has grown and grown since its launch in 2003.
Last year, 111,825 Mo Bros and Mo Sistas took part across the UK, raising £11.7 million. These incredible efforts have funded programmes run directly by Movember and men’s health partners The Prostate Cancer Charity and the Institute of Cancer Research.
Here at SSG, we’re keen to do our bit, and some of our writers have offered up their brave faces to grow moustaches. We caught up with health expert, Dr Christian Jessen, to talk balls and bums and why it’s so important to get involved in Movember.
‘Movember is an incredibly clever idea, as it’s an instant conversation topic as you justify why you look like a Seventies porn star and get people talking about men’s health,’ he says. There are 250,000 men living with prostate cancer in the UK, with one man dying every hour, making it the most common cancer diagnosed in men. ‘It’s so important for men to get used to checking their bodies and getting things looked at by their GP as soon as there are changes.’
It’s common knowledge that men are traditionally less comfortable discussing their health, especially when compared to the efforts of the many women who proactively and publicly address their health issues and regularly take part in nationwide fundraising activities. As a result, levels of awareness, understanding and funding for support of male health issues, like prostate cancer, lag significantly behind causes like breast cancer.
Dr Christian explains that since shows like Channel 4’s Embarrassing Bodies have begun airing, people – especially young men – are becoming less shy about their bodies and are becoming more forthcoming. Movember is a charity trying to change the longstanding the ‘it’ll be alright’ bravado.
Men with prostate cancer may have no symptoms at all, and it typically affects older men over 45. If a man does have symptoms, they may be mild and happen over many years. Symptoms can include a weak urine flow, needing to urinate more often, especially at night, dribbling urine or feeling that your bladder has not emptied properly.
Testicular cancer, the most common form of cancer in men aged 15 to 44, can be completely curable if diagnosed early enough. Dr Christian tells us: ‘No-one is more familiar with the shape and feel of your testicles than you, so you should perform regular self-checks. Whether you’re in the shower or getting changed it’s good to have a feel about and check everything is on order. If you detect anything unusual or think something has changed, go see your GP straight away.’
Dr Christian, a fan of the mo’ on sexy Tom Selleck also encourages us to play with each other’s balls, all in the name is men’s health. ‘Lots of lump and bumps in those areas are also commonly picked up by partners, who are probably at a better position to feel about. It’s important to encourage each other to regular check and know your bodies.’ This is a charity we should all be getting involved in.