written by home doctor townsville team

Put down the razors gentlemen, it’s time to let those whiskers run wild in support of men’s health. As another November rolls around so too does your chance to grow some facial hair in order to “have an everlasting impact on the face of men’s health”.

Movember first began in 2003 and has rapidly grown to be a global campaign with support from over 5 million participants.

The Movember Foundation are concerned about the growing health crisis among men. “Men are facing a health crisis that isn’t being talked about. They are dying too young, before their time. We’re taking action and we need your help,” their website reads.

Movember is about tackling some of the biggest health issues faced by men: prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and mental health and suicide prevention.

Prostate cancer

Sadly, prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men with rates continuing to rise. By 2030 it is estimated that there will be 1.7 million men living with prostate cancer.

Prostate cancer occurs when the cells in the prostate, a walnut shaped gland that sits under the bladder of males, reproduce more rapidly than normal, resulting in a tumour. If left untreated the cancer cells may spread to lymph nodes and bones.

Not all with prostate cancer experience symptoms with most cases being detected by a doctor during a routine checkup. However some symptoms can include:

  • Frequent need to urinate (especially at night)
  • Difficulty starting or stopping urine
  • A weak or interrupted flow
  • Pain or burning during urination
  • Difficulty obtaining an erection
  • Painful ejaculation
  • Blood in the urine or semen
  • Pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips or upper thighs that is frequent

If detected early there is a 98% chance of survival beyond five years, compared to a 26% chance if detected late. A routine blood test can detect the Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) concentration in the blood. Early detection is the key so if you fall into the below categories book an appointment today:

  • Over 50
  • Of African or Caribbean descent and over 45
  • Have a family history (brother or father with prostate cancer)

Testicular cancer

“Testicular cancer is the second most common cancer affecting males aged 18 to 39.” Testicular cancer begins as an abnormal growth which can develop on one or both testicles. Men who were born with undescended testes or have a family history are more at risk.

There are a number of different types of testicular cancer. The best way to recognise any unusual growth is to become familiar with your testicles and check them on a regular basis.

Mental health and suicide prevention

It is estimated that 1 in 2 Australian men have had mental health problems at some point and 3 out of 4 suicides are men.

Though these statistics are astonishingly high there is still a stigma surrounding mental health, specifically for men. So what can we do to help? The Movember Foundation encourages talking, asking, listening, encouraging action and checking in your mates.

What can you do to get involved in Movember?

To get involved and help raise funds this Movember you can:

1. Grow a Mo

Sign up online, start growing your moustache and put a call out for donations.

2. Get moving

Can’t grow a mo? Get moving for Movember instead. Set a distance goal that challenges you and raise funds for sons, partners, brothers, fathers and friends while improving your health at the same time. Want to make it more fun? Get a team together and kick butt together!

3. Host an event

Get the gang together for a good time and raise some funds while you’re at it!