Whatever you want to call them, you’ll be seeing A LOT more moustaches this month – and for good reason.
Each Movember, thousands of husbands, brothers, dads and mates sprout ‘taches to highlight seldom discussed men’s health issues. The often self-imposed misconception that blokes are soft or flaky for ‘whinging’ about their physical or mental health is given a firm shake-up for 30 days.
In support of men talking more about their health this month, here are four great reasons to lose the razor and put Burt Reynolds to shame.
Over 3,000 Aussie blokes die from prostate cancer each year1
It’s a bugger of a disease as detection and diagnosis are often difficult and currently lack accuracy. Even the most up-to-date screening method, a blood test to detect irregular increases in a particular protein (known as PSA), isn’t definitive. Other prostate diseases can also contribute to higher PSA levels and, conversely, not having elevated PSA isn’t an ‘all clear’.
Movember promotes dialogue between men that can help demystify barriers to seeking help. This includes debunking the myth that you’re guaranteed a finger up the bum at the mere utterance of “prostate” to your GP.
But more importantly, Movember helps raise money for research into more accurate screening techniques and management of prostate cancer.
Testicular cancer is the second most common cancer in young men2
Testicular cancer is prevalent in men aged 18 to 39 years old and frequently goes undetected. Adding insult to injury, the rate of incidence has increased by 50% over the past 30 years – reasons unknown.
Thankfully the disease isn’t taking too many of our young fellas. Current stats point to less than 30 deaths per year and a five-year survival rate of 98% following diagnosis.
And diagnosis isn’t pretty. The Cancer Council of Australia states that the only way to confirm testicular cancer is the removal of the affected testicle. Unless you’re one of the 140-odd blokes ever known to have polyorchidism, this certainly isn’t ideal (even then it’s a bit rough)!
Four simple words can help before it gets to this stage: Check. Your. Nuts. Regularly. Beeline it to your GP if you feel any lumps or abnormalities.
Promoting improved mental health aids suicide prevention
The numbers are alarming; the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics figures from 2015 show Australian men are three times more likely to commit suicide than women, representing 2.8% of all male deaths that year and 28.6% of deaths among 15-19 year old males3.
Lifeline estimates that around 30 suicide attempts occur for every death – a staggering 65,300 each year (male and female)4.
Many complex factors impact male suicide rates. Thankfully, Movember puts mental health in the spotlight, providing an opportunity for men to open up to others.
From experience, we find alcohol and substance abuse cause or contribute to a lot of mental health issues. Damaging cultural norms also discourage men from seeking help may prevent many from reaching out.
It’s also some of the language around mental health that needs to change. Being told to ‘man-up’, ‘grow some balls’ and – our favourite – ‘don’t be a pussy’ helps no-one.
Matters that seem small and inconsequential to one person may be the source of anxiety and depression for another. So, take the time to have a chat to a mate this month. You might just be the lifesaver they need.
If you need help, contact your GP, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467.
In case of emergencies, call 000 immediately.
Over 61% of males aged 15+ were either sedentary or had low levels of exercise5
That’s more than a quarter of the entire population being either completely inactive or doing very little physical activity (7,368,000 Australian men in fact)!
We all know that the recommended level of physical activity is 2 ½ to 5 hours of moderate exercise or 1 ¼ to 2 ½ hours of vigorous exercise per week, right? Sounds easy enough, but it can be a whole different ball game when it comes to actually committing to these guidelines.
The key is just to start moving. For example, a 1 km walk the first day, rest the following day and then try to smash out 1.5 kms the next6. Though a total pain in the butt to get going some days, you’ll no doubt feel a million dollars afterwards.
And what’s more, the physical and mental health benefits are amazing! You’ll look better, sleep better and even eat better shortly after moving that body.
Movember’s Move Challenge is a great excuse to get physical and raise cold hard cash to improve men’s health. Get involved today!
We wish there were initiatives like Movember to promote positive and progressive attitudes towards men’s health every month of the calendar. By changing some of the damaging stigmas and behaviours that exist today, more blokes will live longer, happier and healthier lives.
6. Always consult your GP before starting an exercise program for the first time, following poor health or after a period of inactivity.