Movember is an annual awareness-raising event that occurs every November. It involves growing a moustache throughout the month to bring attention to men’s health issues including prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and men’s suicide. The name “Movember” is a combination of the words “moustache” and “November.” Here is some information on the important men’s health issues that are addressed in Movember.
Prostate cancer is the second most common type of cancer for men in the United States (after skin cancer). It starts in the prostate, which is a walnut-sized gland surrounding the urethra that produces the fluid that makes up part of semen. Men are at a higher risk of getting prostate cancer as they age.
Although some types of prostate cancer grow slowly, remain in the prostate, and do not cause symptoms, other types are more aggressive and can spread to different parts of the body if left untreated.
Some symptoms of prostate cancer are difficulty urinating, blood in the urine or semen, erectile dysfunction, and decreased flow/force of urine. While these symptoms can be a sign of other health problems as well, it is a good idea to make an appointment with your health care provider if you have any of these symptoms.
Since the cause of prostate cancer is unclear, there is no foolproof way to prevent it. However, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet, and talking to your provider about whether you may have an increased risk of prostate cancer are all good steps to take to reduce your risk or detect the cancer early.
Although testicular cancer is relatively rare compared to other types of cancer, it is more common in younger men and typically affects men between the ages of 15 to 35. Nevertheless, it can occur in men of any age, and those with abnormal testicle development or an undescended testicle are at a higher risk for developing this cancer.
Fortunately, testicular cancer is a very treatable form of cancer. The most noticeable signs of testicular cancer are any lumps, bulges, or swelling in either of the testicles, a feeling of heaviness in the scrotum, and pain or discomfort in this area. Testicular cancer can also cause back pain and achiness in the abdomen and groin. Speak with a health care professional if you have any of these symptoms. If they detect testicular cancer, treatments may include surgery to remove one of both of the testicles, radiation therapy, and/or chemotherapy.
According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, in 2020, men died by suicide at a rate of 3.88 times that of women. This may be because men are less likely to seek mental health care support than women, and they are more likely to use firearms in suicide attempts. Taking care of one’s mental health is just as important as taking care of one’s physical health. Depression and anxiety are serious medical conditions that can greatly impact a person’s quality of life. Therapy, stress management, social support, and medications such as antidepressants or antianxiety drugs can improve one’s mental well-being. If you are experiencing depressive symptoms or suicidal thoughts, do not hesitate to reach out to a trusted confidant or your health care provider.
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. (2022). Suicide Statistics. https://afsp.org/suicide-statistics/
Mayo Clinic. (2022, October 1). Prostate Cancer. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/prostate-cancer/symptoms-causes/syc-20353087
Mayo Clinic. (2020, April 24). Testicular Cancer. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/testicular-cancer-care/symptoms-causes/syc-20352986