Movember and how it all started

It all starts in 1999. A group of guys in Adelaide, Australia decided to grow moustaches in November of that year, coining the term Movember. Some 80 guys took part after an idea took shape in a pub to raise money for charity. Following this, it became an annual event in Australia and spread nationwide becoming a phenomenon.

In 2004 an unrelated group in Melbourne, although it has to be related to previous events, got together and decided to grow moustaches for the 30 days of November. This was to be the formation of the Movember foundation we know today.

By now, New Zealand had joined in and it was a massive success. In 2007 the movement reached many nations including the UK, USA, Denmark, Spain, Israel and South Africa, amongst others.

What is the foundation trying to achieve?

In the early days of Movember, the focus was mainly on the awareness of prostate cancer and also depression in men. As time has gone on, the areas of interest have increased to many more issues that men suffer with.

2010 saw the launch of the Moscars. This is where serious Movember contenders can submit videos of their Mo journey. These 4-minute videos are judged in several different categories, and the winners receiving various prizes.

There is also an International Man of Movember competition annually. The winner is chosen from the 21 nations taking part and wins the coveted Face Of Movember for a year.

The cause, the disease and the will

It is a known fact that men are far more reluctant to admit to symptoms that they are experiencing and even more reluctant to visit a doctor if they suspect something is wrong. Women are so good at checking their bodies for anomalies and discussing them with their friends. Visiting the doctor to be properly checked out is second nature for them.

Prostate and testicular cancer are almost a silent killer. The symptoms are not always obvious. For most men who are diagnosed with prostate early on, this can be treated and most will end up being classed as ‘cured’ if such a term really exists when talking about cancer. If however, the symptoms are left unchecked or undiagnosed, the consequences can be disastrous. The problem is that in both types of male disease, cancer can spread quickly and easily to other parts of the body. This is where the medical profession has a major fight on its hands to control and decrease the spread. Just by sheer numbers of men dying alone, it is obvious that men need to wake up and start being more open about their health. This is where the will of Movember comes in. They are stressing to men to talk about their taboos, fears and health.

Why am I taking part?

My father has advanced Prostate Cancer. He was diagnosed years ago. However, due to his age, cell growth is slow and the chances of spread are only slight. His PSA is checked regularly and he is monitored. This was only found due to an aortic aneurysm, clearly showing that my dad had had this disease for a long time and didn’t even know! I have friends who have been through testicular cancer too. Some had simple procedures, others had full blown cancer treatment. Luck of the draw? Maybe, but health checks are so important. I join this cause every year, but in all honesty, do I check myself? Do I question symptoms? Would I easily go to a doctor to be checked out? Nope, I’m a bloke!

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