Welcome to Movember®, born in 2003 to draw awareness to men’s health in November. How’s that mustache coming along, guys?
Movember® began in Australia with Travis Garone and Luke Slattery, inspired by fundraising for women’s breast cancer. They reasoned that mustaches were out of style, and to grow one would inevitably generate conversation.
They hatched the idea focused on prostate cancer, which eventually included depression and overall men’s health. According to their original rules – hatched at a bar in Fitzroy – they had to email all their male friends and collect ten dollars from each as a “fee” to grow a mustache.
It’s Not Funny at All
“We saw the amount of support and love, effort and passion that women put into helping themselves and others,” Garone said in a video interview with Staf Magazine. He was referring to a friend who represented a breast cancer foundation.
One night soon after, he saw a humorous commercial for prostate cancer. He confided in Luke, but they were surprised at the magnitude of the problem. “We’re like, it’s not funny at all! Prostate cancer is as serious as breast cancer for women.”
A Kick in the Arse for Men’s Health
The first year, 30 friends grew mustaches. The following year, 450 signed on.
They set up a proper organization with the concept “Give Prostate Cancer a Kick in the Arse.” By 2005, more than 9,000 “Mo bros” and “Mo sistas” had raised $1.2 million for the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia (PCFA).
In 20 years, the Movember® organization has helped raise nearly $1 billion for more than 1,250 men’s health campaigns internationally.
Breaking the Ice
Movember® brings humor to the cause, making it easier for men to break the ice and discuss delicate situations. It is one of the most visible organizations dedicated to men’s health.
The foremost tech companies help, too, joining the Movember Technology Challenge each year to raise funds for the cause. These include Amazon, Dell, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, NVIDIA, and more.
Even breast cancer, not customarily mentioned as a men’s issue, claims more than 500 male lives each year in the U.S. Dr. Susan Harvey is vice president of global medical affairs for breast and skeletal health at Hologic, Inc. In an interview last month, she claims there is evidence men “may be under-treated” and reluctant to inquire about it.
According to the CDC, the top ten causes of death for men or all races in the U.S. in 2017 were as follows:
- Heart Disease 24.2%
- Cancer 21.9%
- Unintentional Injuries 7.6%
- Chronic Lower Respiratory Diseases 5.2%
- Stroke 4.3%
- Diabetes 3.2%
- Alzheimer’s Disease 2.6%
- Suicide 2.6%
- Influenza and Pneumonia 1.8%
- Chronic Liver Disease 1.8%
Looking Out for Number One
Heart disease is number one on the list, and reducing stress can have a positive effect. Anger issues, tobacco, substance abuse, social withdrawal, and a sedentary lifestyle are notorious adversaries to a healthy heart.
The Mayo Clinic advises a healthy lifestyle and avoiding the pitfalls such as smoking and anxiety. So eat a nutritious diet, exercise, and limit stress. Don’t ignore long-running health problems such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, or diabetes.
One of the most challenging and least discussed issues men deal with is depression. Aggravated by stress, family, and financial problems, the consequences can be devastating. Communication and treatment can save lives.
Change the Face of Men’s Health
Growing mustaches is a fun way to raise awareness for men’s health, including testicular cancer, mental health, and suicide prevention. “Changing the face of men’s health” is the catchphrase. Increasing cancer detection, improving treatments, and decreasing the mortality rate is the goal.
The Movember® foundation encourages men to know their family history of cancer and heart disease. Men carry the reputation for keeping their health concerns quiet. The Movember® campaign aims to shake that image up and make that badge of honor a badge of irresponsibility.
Look Into the Crystal Ball
“By 2030, we aim to reduce the number of men dying prematurely by 25%” is a Movember® decree.
The non-profit hopes to reduce the mortality rate from prostate and testicular cancer by fifty percent and minimize side effects resulting from treatment. It also sets its sights on lowering the male suicide rate by 25 percent.
“We realized men’s health was a space that needed disrupting,” Garone said in an interview with Hive Life. “As guys, we were like, ‘Why aren’t we doing anything?’ All I’m trying to do, all Movember is trying to do, is leave the world a better place than how we found it.”
By growing a mustache during Movember®, men become walking billboards for men’s health awareness. Go to the doctor, guys. Sure, you’re okay, but how about letting a medical professional tell you that? It’s okay to take directions once in a while.