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Movember and Men’s Cancer Awareness

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To all our male friends: as we begin to descend into the cooler months, you might be thinking of growing some facial hair to keep your face warm. But did you know that by you growing a mustache during the month of November, you could also be helping to fund men’s health? This event is known as Movember, and it’s the perfect excuse to try out that handlebar mustache you’ve secretly been coveting. It’s your decision if you want to keep it or shave it off come December 1.

But besides enabling some daring and dashing new mustache styles, what is Movember all about?

What Is Movember, and What Does It Stand For?

Movember is the only global charity focused exclusively on raising money and awareness for men’s health issues. They have fundraising activities year-round to support programs that enable men to live longer, happier, and healthier lives. The money raised helps fund innovative research on male-specific cancers, suicide prevention, and overall men’s health. 

During November, the Foundation runs their annual Movember campaign, perhaps their most famous initiative. Movember is globally recognized for its disruptive and fun approach to fundraising, as well as for encouraging men to better care for their mental and physical health. During this month, men are challenged to grow a mustache, while men and women both are encouraged to help fundraise through physical activities.

These commitments provoke important, life-changing conversations while raising awareness and funds vital to research. Since its inception in 2003, Movember has helped raise $911 million, funding over 1,250 projects focused on suicide prevention, mental health, prostate, and testicular cancers.

How Did This Movement Get Started?

The story of Movember began in 2003 when two friends, Luke Slattery and Travis Garone, were having a beer at a bar in their home country of Australia. Their topic of conversation steered towards recurring fashion trends, including the mustache. They noticed that this facial hair style had grown unpopular and joked that they should be the ones to bring it back. They then decided they should encourage their friends to grow mustaches, too — but thought they might need a stronger reason behind the ask.

Inspired by a friend’s mother who was raising money for breast cancer awareness, they decided to turn their mustache-growing into a campaign about prostate cancer and men’s health. They outlined the rules of the first Movember, designed a logo, and sent out an email to their friends and associates titled, “Are you man enough to be my man?”

Soon, they found 30 men willing to accept the challenge, and the concept of Movember was officially underway. In 2004, they decided to take it to the next level and formalized the campaign by creating a website and registering the company. Soon, Movember grew into a global phenomenon of awareness and positivity.

How Else Does Movember Help Cancer?

The Movember campaign is now official in 21 countries worldwide and has raised close to a billion dollars to fund men’s health programs. Movember brags, and rightfully so, on the growth of millions of mustaches, major scientific breakthroughs, and a significant shift around the conversation of men’s mental and physical health.

These conversations include better awareness of the symptoms of male-specific cancers, which are a growing concern in South Africa and around the world.

Male Specific Cancers in South Africa

According to the National Cancer Registry, prostate and testicular cancers are the most common in South African men, with an average 1 in 17 receiving a diagnosis in their lifetime. Both international and local research indicates that the risk for the aggressive form of these cancers is higher in black men. They are 50% more likely to receive this diagnosis and twice as likely to die from it. The Western Cape Department of Health urges men, especially over 40, to go for a check-up at least once a year. 

Prostate and testicular cancers, especially when not detected early, can lead to sterility, potentially complex treatment, a lifetime of hormone replacement therapy, or in the worst-case scenario, death.

Prostate Cancer

Globally, more than 1.3 million men receive a prostate cancer diagnosis every year. Symptoms can include:

  • A need to urinate frequently, more so at night
  • Difficulty starting urination or holding back urine
  • Painful or burning urination
  • Difficulty in getting an erection
  • Pain when ejaculating
  • Blood in your semen or urine 
  • Frequent stiffness or pain in your hips, lower back, or upper thighs

Testicular Cancer

Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in men 15 to 35 years old. It begins as an abnormal growth or tumor in one or both testicles. There are several types of testicular cancer, but the most common one is the germ cell tumor. Symptoms include:

  • Swelling or a lump in the testicle
  • An increase in the firmness of one or both of your testicles
  • A noticeable difference between both testicles
  • A sharp pain or a dull ache in your testicles or scrotum
  • A feeling of heaviness in your scrotum 

How to Perform a Self-Exam

A self-exam works best while in the shower because the warm water will help to relax the scrotum and the other muscles holding the testicles.

  • Start with one side of the first testicle and gently roll the scrotum with your fingers to feel for any bumps, lumps, or anything unusual. Take note of the size so you can monitor it for swelling in the future. Also, be aware of any heaviness or dull soreness.
  • Switch sides to the other testicle and repeat.

If you notice any of the symptoms listed above, schedule an appointment with your doctor immediately. These types of cancers are known for spreading rapidly, but if detected early, are two of the most curable cancers. Take your physical health seriously by making healthier choices daily and scheduling regular testing and screenings with your doctor.

How Can You Show Your Support During Movember?

There are many ways to support Movember’s important work for male-specific cancers and other men’s health issues. You can choose to get involved, donate, or even become a partner.

Get Involved

  • Grow a mustache and use your face to raise money and garner awareness for men’s health.
  • Move by running or walking a total of 60 miles for the 60 men that commit suicide every hour across the globe.
  • Host a so-called “Mo-ment” either in person or virtually by gathering your friends for a good time and a good cause.
  • Create a “Mo Your Own Way” challenge. You can complete a difficult physical challenge or vow to kick a bad habit by setting your own goals and following through with them.

Donate

  • If you know someone participating in Movember, you can donate directly to their Mo Space.
  • Make a one-time donation directly to Movember.
  • Choose an amount to automatically donate monthly to continuously support more research and programs geared toward men’s health. If you choose this, you will receive an annual tax receipt, news and updates on scientific breakthroughs, information on how your money is helping, and real stories about the real men benefiting from your annual donation.

If donation is the path for you, you can follow it with confidence knowing that Movember is a fully transparent company regarding what the money is for and exactly where it goes. They publish an Annual Report detailing the previous year’s campaigns, financials, and outcomes.

Partner with Movember

Over the years, Movember has created multiple mutually beneficial external and internal partnerships worldwide. Movember benefits by increased visibility and partners benefit from the campaign’s ability to raise business profiles, drive business, and increase employee engagement. If you have an interest in discussing a potential partnership, send an email to businessmos@movember.com.

Cancer Insurance with Aynjil

With male-specific cancers as prevalent as they are, having cancer insurance is a valuable step toward peace of mind. Cancer insurance is a type of insurance specific to South Africa that works in conjunction with the health insurance you already have. At Aynjil, our insurance product has no fine print, no ambiguous clauses, and is priced as economically as possible.

And we understand that the costs of cancer treatment go far beyond diagnosis and treatment. At Aynjil, we are also concerned with your emotional care, lifestyle needs, and overall wellbeing. We offer specialized cancer insurance benefits at the best possible premiums with an easy, 4-minute online sign-up process. 
Right now, you can also benefit from Aynjil’s pre-launch offer. Visit our website and register your interest in one of our insurance policies to get three months’ premium back at the end of your first year.

Marketing by Joseph Studios

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