If you’re seeing many more men around you sporting mustaches this month, it’s not because they’ve started trending. Facial hair has always been a fashion statement, but in November, it’s becoming a health statement.
Movember is an annual event that has the aim to raise awareness on men’s health issues. The goal is to “change the face of men’s health” and the supporters take this mission literally: throughout the entire month, they let their mustaches grow and post before and after pictures. The Movember Foundation aims to increase early cancer detection, diagnosis and effective treatments and to prevent men’s suicide.
The term “Movember” was first coined in 1999 by a group of men on a late night out, in a pub in Adelaide, South Australia. It soon grew to be a nationwide phenomenon. Later, in 2004, another group of guys decided to revive the movement by letting their mustaches grow for 30 days in a row, in order to raise awareness for prostate cancer and depression in men. This is how the Movember Foundation came to be. Since its inception, more than 5 million mustaches have been grown and the popularity of the cause helped raise over $750 million that were invested in projects that support developments in prostate cancer treatment, testicular cancer, mental health and suicide prevention.
Besides skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men. According to American Cancer Society’s statistics, in 2017 about 161,360 new cases of prostate cancer were reported and 26,730 deaths. It is estimated that 1 in 7 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, with older age being a significant factor that increases the occurrence of the disease. The news is not all bad: most men diagnosed with prostate cancer can be treated, especially if the disease is caught in the early stages. Maybe you can’t grow a full Walrus this month (or just don’t want to), but you still can go get a PSA screening test, or explain the importance of early on testing to a family member or friend.