Breakthrough Patient Recruitment

: What’s “Movember” Anyway?

What’s “Movember” Anyway?

Strategic Development Director

That's a great question! According to Wikipedia, "Movember" is "an annual event involving the growing of moustaches and beards during the month of November to raise awareness of men's health issues, such as depression in men, prostate cancer and other male cancers, and associated charities." The term was coined in in 1999, by a group of young men in Adelaide, South Australia, to symbolize the idea of growing moustaches for charity throughout the month of November. In 2003, The Movember Foundation was formally created as a global charity committed to helping men live happier, healthier, longer lives. Today, the organization brings together leading experts from around the world to raise awareness, collaborate on solutions and financially support research to fundamentally change the way men are treated and supported. Since 2003, the organization has raised more than $650 million and helped fund more than 1,000 programs.

As a man in my 40s working for a company that often supports clinical trials that greatly affect men's health, you would think that I would be familiar with the "Movember" movement. But both sadly and ironically, I was not.

My health has never really been a big concern for me because, quite simply, I'm a man and most men I know really don't talk about or discuss their health. I guess this is part of the "machismo" that gets drilled into our heads as children. Many men equate sharing with weakness, and I believe this is where the quandary of open communication about our health collides with our perceptions of what a "real man" is. In fact, I can categorically say that many men find it difficult to share their problems and try to remain "strong and silent," despite the detrimental effect this can have.

Sadly, I've had several male family members die of "men's diseases," and I have other friends who have been inflicted. My wife constantly reminds me that I need to "take better care of myself, eat less, and exercise more." Being a bit of a couch potato, and despite my best efforts to be a good listener, her comments often fall on deaf ears or at least unenthusiastic ones. But having worked in the health care world for most of my adult life and being raised in a family full of health care workers, shouldn't I be more aware of issues affecting men's health? Again, sadly and sheepishly, I'll admit that I am not. This blog post is my effort to not only educate myself, but hopefully to inspire others.  So to my brethren who are part of the unaware majority, here are a few interesting factoids that should elicit a few raised (and probably bushy) eyebrows:

Gender is one of the strongest and most consistent predictors of health and life expectancy, which is not great for men because on average, across the world, we die 6 years earlier than women.

Prostate Cancer:

  • Second most common cancer in men worldwide (more than 1.1 million cases worldwide in 2012)
  • Number of cases expected to almost double by 2030
  • 1 in 7 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime
  • 2015 - estimated 220,800 Americans diagnosed
  • One American dies from prostate cancer every 19 minutes
  • U.S. researchers identified more than 28 different types of prostate cancer
  • Even successful treatment can take a toll on the physical and mental health of those affected

To get additional information regarding prostate cancer, visit http://www.cancer.org/cancer/prostatecancer/detailedguide/prostate-cancer-risk-factors and http://www.cancer.org/cancer/prostatecancer/detailedguide/prostate-cancer-treating-general-info

Testicular Cancer:

  • Most common cancer in young men aged 15 to 34 years
  • Diagnosis rate has doubled in the past 50 years
  • Almost 9,000 new cases each year
  • With early detection and treatment most cases (better than 95%) result in a good outcome; however, about 380 men will die each year

To get additional information regarding testicular cancer, visit http://www.cancer.gov/types/testicular/patient/testicular-treatment-pdq

 Poor Mental Health:

  • Can affect ANYONE at ANY AGE
  • Around 25% of men in the U.S. will experience a mental health problem in a given year
  • Affects men more than women
  • Men aged 40 to 59 experience the highest rate of depression
  • 75% of suicides are by men
  • On average, 87 men each day take their life by suicide in the U.S.
  • Globally, WHO estimates that one man per minute commits suicide each year

To get additional information regarding mental health, visit http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/mental-illness/basics/risk-factors/con-20033813;   http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/mental-illness/basics/treatment/con-20033813; and Mentalhealth.org

Physical Inactivity:

  • It's a BIG deal and it's killing us
  • Inactivity contributes to many preventable causes of deaths and puts you at a higher risk of cancer and many other diseases
  • 4thleading risk factor for mortality globally
  • Contributes to 3.2 million deaths globally per year
  • 41% of men in high-income countries don't exercise enough
  • Being active helps men stay socially connected and builds positive behaviors

Men's health is unnecessarily in crisis. Many of the most common diseases affecting men are preventable or their outcomes could be greatly improved by early detection.

In 2012, the Global Journal listed Movember as one of the world's top 100 NGOs (non-government organization). To find out more about the "Movember" movement and The Movember Foundation please, visit Movember.com. 

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