Movember: The Global Movement for Men’s Health

That time of the year again – the return of the tache! The handlebar, the toothbrush, the chevron and the horseshoe are just a few of the moustaches we’ve seen growing for this year’s Movember campaign.

The Movember Foundation, established in 2003, is the leading charity changing the face of men’s health. Men’s health is in global crisis, and the Movember Foundation is tackling some of the biggest issues affecting men in today’s society; prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental health and suicide.

By encouraging men to get involved, it aims to increase early cancer detection, diagnosis and effective treatments. Ultimately Movember aims to reduce the number of preventable deaths, to stop men from dying too young.

A quick overview – what you need to know

Prostate cancer

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the UK, and the risk increases with age. It is estimated that 1 man dies from prostate cancer in the UK every 45 minutes. Raising awareness is extremely important as when detected early, prostate cancer survival rates are better than 98%.

Most men with early prostate cancer don’t have any symptoms but there are risk factors you should be aware about:

Most men with early prostate cancer don’t have any symptoms but there are risk factors you should be aware about:

  • Over 50 years old
  • Family history of prostate cancer
  • Black men are at higher risk of prostate cancer

It is important to have a conversation with your GP at 50 to discuss your risk of prostate cancer. These conversations should begin earlier, at 45 years, if you are black or have a family history of prostate cancer.If you do notice symptoms such as changes in urinary or sexual function, it is worthwhile getting it check out, as although it is most likely to be a non-serious condition, it may also indicate the presence of prostate cancer.

Symptoms may include:

  • A need to urinate frequently, especially at night
  • Difficulty starting urination or holding back urine
  • Weak or interrupted flow of urine
  • Painful or burning urination
  • Difficulty in having an erection
  • Painful ejaculation
  • Blood in urine or semen
  • Frequent pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips, or upper thigh

Testicular cancer

In the UK, testicular cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in younger men, and usually affects those aged 15–49 years. Around 2,200 men are diagnosed with testicular cancer each year in the UK.

The risk factors for testicular cancer include:

  • Men with undescended testes at birth
  • Family history of testicular cancer
  • Previous testicular cancer – men who have been diagnosed with testicular cancer are between 4-12 times more likely to develop cancer in the other testicle

It is important to be teste aware – that is, it is important for men to regularly check their testicles for changes in size or shape or for the appearance of lumps. Regular self-checking may help to identify any issues early on and help to prevent testicular cancer.

Check out Movember’s guide on self-examination.You can find further information at Cancer Research UK and Prostate Cancer UK. If you’re worried about your risk of prostate or testicular cancer or are experiencing any symptoms, speak to a GP.

Mental Health and suicide

In the UK, suicide is thought to be the most common cause of death for men ages 20-49 years. Currently 75% of all suicides in the UK are male. It is thought that the one reason for this is because men may be less likely to ask for help or talk about depressive or suicidal feelings.

The Movember Campaign encourages men to reach out and talk, where something as simple as listening and giving your time can be life-saving. You don’t need to be an expert in the subject, sometimes just being there for someone can be the support they need. If you think a friend is going through a tough time – don’t be afraid to reach out and ask how they are, you aren’t going to make things worse by asking. By encouraging them to speak to others around them and to seek further help you can provide significant mental health support.

The Movember Campaign is aiming to reduce the rate of male suicide by 25% by 2030 by aiming to improve overall male mental health.

If you are going through a tough time or know someone who needs some support you can speak to someone at Samaritans. There are also lots of online resources available at NHS Mental Health and Mind.

Head over to the Movember Foundation website to donate and support the global campaign for men’s health.

If you have any concerns or worries, don’t hesitate to contact a ZoomDoc GP who can provide you with both physical and mental health advice. We have also partnered with Dr Julian, the app for mental healthcare, providing instant access to highly experienced therapists and psychologists. ZoomDoc is in support of the global movement for better men’s health!