The idea of ‘Movember’ has certainly taken off over the last few years. Originally the idea of a few Australians in Melbourne, the concept of men growing a mustache for a month in order to raise awareness and, crucially, cash for a range of men’s health issues, but predominately prostate cancer.
The number of funds raised is significant too. In the UK in 2011, the stunt raised more than 22 million with more than a quarter of a million people taking part. The money raised was used to improve facilities designed to detect and treat prostate cancer and to help medical professionals improve their skills in these areas.
Centre of Excellence
The Movember Foundation, in conjunction with Prostate Cancer UK, has also committed to using some of the money for a Movember Centre of Excellence. An initial 5 million of the money raised will be used to kick-start the center, which will be used as a hub for research and development of better treatments.
The breadth of people taking part in the concept is also striking. From charity solicitors to building workers, from rugby league stars to television hosts, all kinds of men are sprouting hair on their top lip to demonstrate a commitment to the cause. That kind of participating level is certainly encouraging, as awareness of men’s illnesses such as prostate cancer is still lower than it needs to be.
Prostate cancer is actually the most common form of cancer in men in the United Kingdom, with 40,000 or so new diagnoses occurring each year. Indeed, experts reckon that by 2030 prostate cancer might well become the world’s most common cancer overall. But a lack of general awareness means that it has not always been treated with the urgency it warrants.
Around 250,000 men are currently battling against the illness, which occurs in many elderly men. The illness will affect around one in nine British men, with men of black African heritage more susceptible, along with those who have a history of the illness in their family.
That kind of number makes participating in Movember even more important. It is easy to do so too. If you have not taken part this November, then make sure you know the rules for next year. Participants must be clean-shaven at the beginning of the month. They are then not allowed to shave their top lips until midnight on November 30.
Additional rules include that the mustache which grows must not be joined to the participant’s sideboards or at their chin. Both of those would be considered beards. The mustache must also be properly groomed for the whole of the month. As an easy way of raising money and awareness, it is hard to beat, really.
If you take part, then you are not really having to do anything especially testing or burdensome, although you might feel like you look a little silly for a while. However ridiculous you might feel you look though, you can comfort yourself that it is for a good cause. It is not like training for a marathon.
And you never know, you might well feel in the end that it suits you and the top lip adornment stays forever.