Let's start here... Moustaches are very a serious business.
Back in the days, a moustache used to mean you were super important... an aristocrat even (19th century Europe). It was also a symbol of status and masculinity. ... we know you looked up what an aristocrat was! Nc nc nc nc! The Movember movement has tapped into the prestige associated with moustaches to fight causes that affect men today. Every year, tons of men who are fortunate enough to be blessed with the ability to grow facial hair can be seen sporting moustaches of every style from the stately imperial to the eccentric Trucker moustaches.
While seeing men with old-fashioned moustaches in 2019 is entertaining, very few people know what this is all about. Kanti, what is Movember?? and why should we care...? Movember, which is a combination of the Australian slang for moustache "mo", and November, is an annual event where men grow beards (and moustaches) to raise awareness on men's health issues, such as prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and men's suicide. The goal of Movember is to "change the face of men's health by encouraging men (whom the charity refers to as "Mo Bros") to get involved. Movember aims to increase early cancer detection, diagnosis, and effective treatments, and ultimately reduce the number of preventable deaths. Besides annual check-ups, the Movember Foundation (yes, there is a foundation) encourages men to be aware of family history of cancer and to adopt a healthier lifestyle. It is apparent that the movement has good intentions and the cause it aims to eradicate is essential; but how does it affect the average South African man? ... Mara Why??
Prostate cancer, the most common male cancer globally and locally, is showing significant increases. According to the National Cancer Registry, South African men have a 1 in 19 risk of being diagnosed in their lifetime. International and local research indicates that the risk for aggressive prostate cancer is higher in black men. While cancer does not discriminate, the higher risk is tied to all sorts of things like social stress or exposure to cancer-causing pollutants. Smoking, poor diet, and lack of exercise, which can cause obesity, may also have effects. Since black men are the majority in South Africa, awareness has to be brought on an issue of national importance. Men need to go for simple screening tests to detect Prostate Cancer. Screening results in early detection, enabling more effective treatment and a better chance of recovery.
South African men are more than four times more likely to commit suicide than women, according to a report by the World Health Organisation. The report, "Preventing Suicide: a Resource For Pesticide Registrars and Regulators", states that almost 800,000 people die from suicide every year globally, or once every 40 seconds.The World Health Organisation has prioritised suicide prevention as it claims more lives than "malaria, breast cancer, or war and homicide", and the data is alarming for South Africa, particularly the men. In 2016, the year on which the data is based, SA recorded 6,476 suicides, which translates into a rate of 12.8 people per 100,000.
The report stated that the global age-standardised suicide rate was 10.5 per 100,000 in 2016. The numbers are harrowing and demand immediate action. The prevalence of the issues that are at the heart of what the Movember movement seeks to address is the reason why we should all be MO Bro's and Mo Sisters. It encourages the authenticity of putting in the time and effort to create something exceptional and worthwhile – like growing an awesome mo' in Movember. Movember provides Cansa with a unique opportunity to build specialised programmes, as well as to extend existing care facilities to provide customised support to prostate and testicular cancer survivors.
These programmes and initiatives include:
- Movember Metropolitan Integrated Care Programme
- Movember Patient Navigation Programme
- Counseling and Online Support
- #TeamMemo Movember Drive (Support our cause, make a donation)
These initiatives work to support and care for survivors and their caregivers, from the time they are diagnosed, through their recovery period. "We have several initiatives in South Africa which support women's health, but men's health is often overlooked as the issues that affect men – such as testicular and prostate cancers – seem embarrassing to talk about. There is a definite need to make men more aware of their health and remove the stigma associated with these men's health issues," says Western Cape Health Minister, Theuns Botha.
"I support Movember as it reiterates the Department's stance that testicular and prostate cancers do not have to mean the end of your life if they are detected early enough. I would like to encourage South Africa to get behind the campaign and sign up for Movember this year", he added. South African men have not covered themselves in glory in the past year with increasing Gender-Based Violence, that is why Movember is such a powerful and significant movement for the country. It appropriated a symbol of masculinity, sanitised it of the toxicity associated with it, and repurposed for a good cause.
A final word before we go
#TeamMemo is raising funds and driving awareness this Movember for all the dads, brothers, sons and mates in our lives. Our aim is to help improve men’s lives by taking part in projects focused on prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental health, and suicide prevention. We need your help.
Please make a donation to support our cause for men's health in South Africa by scanning the QR code above or click on the image. Let's STOP MEN DYING TOO YOUNG.