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What is Movember, the charity and movement that fights for men's health throughout the world?

Published Oct 30, 2020 • By Candice Salomé

The Movember movement was founded in 2003 in Australia. Ever since, it has become a worldwide movement and the month of November has been devoted to raising awareness of men's health, particularly prostate and testicular cancer (typically male pathologies), but also mental health and suicide prevention.

But how did Movember come about? What does it consist of? Why is its emblem a mustache? How can you participate in the movement? How can you get tested?

We tell you everything in our article!

What is Movember, the charity and movement that fights for men's health throughout the world?

What is Movember?

What is the history of the Movember movement?

The Movember Foundation was formed in 2003. Two friends, Travis Garone and Luke Slattery, met one evening in a bar in Melbourne. They set themselves a challenge: to bring back the mustache for men who hadn't had one in years. They found 30 men ready to take up the challenge of growing a mustache for 30 days in order to bring it back in style. These men grew their mustaches so enthusiastically that in 2004, the two friends decided to do it again, but this time for a good cause.

Adam Garone (Travis Garone's brother) then created a company and set up a website, Justin Coghlan joined him and initiated a major media campaign across the different states of Australia.

The men decided to take a stand for men's health and prostate cancer in particular, and donated the funds raised ($54,000 AUS) to the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia (PCFA). It was the largest donation ever received by the foundation.

Since then, the movement has continued to grow and is now internationally recognized. Movember launched in the US in 2007.

Since 2003, Movember has funded more than 1,250 men's health projects around the world, revolutionizing research in the field and transforming the way health services reach and support men.

Where does the name “Movember” come from?

Movember is a contraction of "mo" (Australian slang for mustache) and November. People who follow the movement are called "Mo Bros" (mustache brothers) and "Mo Sistas" (mustache sisters).

What is Movember's mission?

According to the Movember Foundation, men die on average 6 years earlier than women worldwide. Mental health problems affect men more frequently than women and ¾ of suicides are committed by men (510,000 hommes end their lives per year, according to WHO).

In addition, prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men worldwide.

The organisation, through its various actions and projects, wants to break the silence that surrounds men's health conditions, which are often unknown or even taboo, in order to reduce the premature mortality rate among men.

"Thanks to Movember and the various evaluations we have been able to carry out, we have identified more than 120 types of prostate cancer," explains Mark Leruste, head of Movember France. "With the funds raised, we are investing in medical research to try and find the most suitable treatments," he adds.

How to participate in Movember?

Let your mustache grow:

"GROW A MO, SAVE A BRO"

Every November, thousands of men grow mustaches as a sign of support for Movember. The goal is simple: shave completely on November 1st and let only your mustache grow for the next 30 days. Participants are invited to tell their friends and family about Movember to raise awareness of the cause!

Make a Move for Movember:

“We lose 60 men to suicide each hour, every hour across the world.”

The organisation thus proposes to Make a Move in their honor. The aim is straightforward: walk or run 60 miles (for the 60 men lost every hour) over the month of November. The idea is to share your exercise and sport activities in your "Mo Space". It can be anything from walking to work, jogging, hiking... Every step counts! This initiative aims to raise awareness of the benefits of sport in order to fight against physical inactivity, the 4th biggest risk factor for mortality worldwide.

You can also join the great Carenity challengeLet's Make a Move for Movember!

Participate in a Mo-ment: 

Many events are organized all over the US, as well as online. You can find the list of events here: https://us.movember.com/events. You can also organize an event yourself to raise funds for the Movember Foundation by clicking here: https://us.movember.com/get-involved/host

Make a donation to the Movember Foundation:

You can make a donation on the Movember Foundation website. All collected donations will be donated to medical research.

When and how to get tested for prostate cancer?

The benefits of prostate cancer screening have not yet been demonstrated. It is not yet certain that early detection will prevent prostate cancer-related deaths. The two largest international scientific studies present contradictory conclusions on this point.

To date, there is so systematic screening recommendations for prostate cancer in the US by PSA (prostate specific antigen) testing in men without symptoms.

Nevertheless, some men may wish to be screened for prostate cancer.

There are two different examinations in prostate cancer screening:

  • The digital rectal examination (DRE): the doctor inserts a gloved finger into the rectum to check the volume, texture and consistency of the prostate. This examination is uncomfortable but painless.
  • PSA (prostate specific antigen) blood test: by taking a blood sample, it is possible to measure the level of PSA (prostate specific antigen) in the blood. PSA is a protein produced by the prostate that is normally present in small quantities in the blood. However, this test should not be carried out in the days following sexual intercourse, a digital rectal exam or physical activity such as cycling, as the PSA level may be increased.

Why are these tests not completely reliable in screening?

A digital rectal exam does not exclude cancer because it only detects palpable tumors.

A high PSA level can be the sign of prostate cancer before the first symptoms appear. However, a high PSA level does not mean that there is always cancer.  

Other diseases (benign prostatic hyperplasia or prostate adenoma, prostatitis, urinary tract infection or acute cystitis) can also increase the level of PSA in the blood.

When there is an increase in PSA, further tests (including biopsies) are necessary to check whether or not prostate cancer is present. 

According to Harvard Medical School: About 70 to 80% of men with an elevated PSA level do not have cancer and conversely, about 20% of men who have cancer also have a normal PSA level.

Prostate cancer on Carenity:

Come join the prostate cancer community on Carenity! You can discuss with other members on the following topics:

Many articles and testimonials are also available in our Health Magazine!

Will you be taking part in Movember? Do plan do join our great Carenity challenge?

Feel free to share your thoughts and questions with the community in the comments below!

Take care!

avatar Candice Salomé

Author: Candice Salomé, Community Manager France

Candice Salomé is Community Manager France at Carenity. She is also involved in the writing of articles for Santé Magazine. Responsible for member engagement on Carenity's French platform, she... >> Learn more

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