November + Mustaches = The Movember Movement
With November quickly approaching, it’s time for men everywhere to prepare for their part in publicizing prostate cancer, prostate cancer screening, current treatments and an eventual cure. The testosterone version of breast cancer’s pink ribbon, this social movement to fight prostate cancer began in 1999 in Australia — “Mo” is Australian slang for a mustache — and has slowly grown to its current size of tens of thousands of Facebook members and Twitter followers. More importantly, the publicity generated by the Movember movement resulted in $80.7 million dollars raised to in 2010 followed by $126.3 million in 2011 for “prostate cancer awareness and early detection.” Movember is rapidly becoming one of the most visible forums for increasing awareness about prostate cancer and early detection.
Bringing a Disease in From the Shadows
One important aspect of the Movember movement is to bring the disease into public knowledge and public conversations. Doctors, nurse practitioners and other healthcare providers have long known that the more “shame” associated with a particular disease or body part, the less likely patients are to seek screening tests or openly discuss their chances of contracting the disease, symptoms of the condition or their treatment options with their physicians. Like breasts, the prostate gland is associated with sexuality and so one of the first goals of a public movement is to bring the disease into the public eye using methods such as public service announcements featuring celebrities, increased media coverage featuring success stories made possible by early detection, mass media coverage of research findings and the adoption of a symbol. A moustache can be just as recognizable a symbol as a pink ribbon, especially when grown and worn by larger and larger groups of men during a specific month — November.
How to Participate in Movember
Men and women are encouraged to visit the Movember website to enroll in program, with 850,000 other participants from 2011. Participant can join individually or as part of a team and women are welcome as supporters of their husbands, fathers, brothers and friends. In addition to registration, the Movember website offers a wealth of information about the movement, including recent news of the movement, the disease, treatment and possible means of prevention. Further information is designed to bring groups together, or as the website says, “grow, show and connect.” A leader board keeps track of the amount of fundraising accomplished around the world for even a little more male competition. The online “Mo Store” offers a number of promotional items all including a ubiquitous moustache and designed to get the attention of your friends, family, colleagues and community.
Men’s Health: Overcoming Indifference
One of the most important aspects of the Movember website is a section dedicated to men’s health. The gender’s seeming indifference or stoicism regarding issues of their health is openly discussed and the results of such behavior — such as shorter life spans and lower quality of life measures — emphasized as preventable. In addition to prostate cancer awareness and information, other cancers and health conditions are discussed, as are the means for prevention, early detection and current treatment options.
November 1 – November 30
Visit the Movember site and enroll as a participant. Enlist a group of colleagues, friends, your bowling team or Sunday School class to participate. And get ready soon to put those razors and that can of shaving cream away for a month.