In the past, November signified the traditional onset of winter. Heavy coats would be brushed off and hats and gloves dug out from the backs of drawers.
The month played witness to nature’s hibernation, when leaves waved goodbye to their branches and began the transformation into next year’s mulch.
But not anymore.
Now November heralds the emergence, all over the country, of stubble under the noses of well-meaning men raising money for the Movember Campaign.
Rather than signal the end of growth, November now celebrates the sprouting of new moustaches throughout the UK and around the world, as Movember draws attention to issues surrounding men’s health.
Movember began life 10 years ago on the other side of the world, when men in Australia started growing moustaches to raise money for prostate cancer.
Since then the campaign has chosen to expand its focus, and now works towards highlighting other conditions that affect men, including testicular cancer, obesity and mental health problems.
The idea behind the campaign isn’t simply to raise money for research. The Movember Foundation also wants to raise awareness of the conditions and give men the chance to talk about any health issues they may have.
The Movember Foundation has outlined a series of goals:
- Helping men living with prostate or testicular cancer to be physically and mentally well.
- Helping men and boys understand how to be healthy mentally and take action when they experience mental health problems.
- Preventing men and boys with mental health problems from being discriminated against.
- Reducing mortality from prostate, testicular cancer and suicide in men.
Men’s Health Issues
This year, the Movember campaign is highlighting these particular men’s health issues:
- There are 40,000 new cases of prostate cancer every year in the UK – this makes it the most common type of cancer affecting men in the country.
- The condition can go undiagnosed for a long time, because an enlarged prostate has no symptoms until it is big enough to start pressing on the urethra. When this happens, those with the condition will feel the urge to urinate more frequently than usual.
- Prostate cancer is more common in men over the age of 50.
- Symptoms include the need to urinate frequently and urgently, and difficulty urinating.
- To learn more about the UK’s Prostate Cancer Risk Management Programme click here.
- This usually affects men between the ages of 15 and 49.
- Testicular cancer usually shows itself as a lump on the testicles. As such, men can easily test themselves by regularly checking their testicles for any changes.
- Every year, around 2,300 men are diagnosed with testicular cancer in the UK. This accounts for 1% of male cancers.
- More than 96% of patients with testicular cancer will be completely cured of the disease.
- You should always see your GP if you notice a lump or abnormality on or in your testicles or scrotum.
- Men are four times more likely to commit suicide than women.
- A similar number of men and women experience mental health problems, but men are much less likely to seek help.
- One in ten men experience some form of mental health problem after the birth of their first child.
- The health charity MIND suggests that men are most worried about money, job security and work.
- The highest rates of suicide are among men aged 30 to 44.
- Men feeling depressed can seek confidential advice from their GP, or call MIND on 0300 123 3393.
- A quarter of all UK adults are classed as obese.
- People with obesity are at an increased risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, some cancers, stroke and depression.
- There are many causes of obesity. Some are well-known, such as poor diet, lack of exercise and drinking a lot of alcohol. Others are less obvious: certain conditions, such as thyroid problems, can contribute to weight gain.
- The best way to treat obesity is to embark on a number of lifestyle changes. These include looking at how many calories to take in during a day, planning a weekly exercise regime, and eating more slowly and mindfully.
- There is medication that can be taken, such as the prescription-only weight loss pills Xenical. This can prevent any additional weight being gained and can help you lose weight, but only if used as part of a weight loss regime. Surgery, such as gastric bands, is also an option, but it is advised only in extreme cases.