The month of Movember is upon us, and that means bands of men around the world will begin growing moustaches in an effort to support men’s health. The Movember movement started in 2003 when a group of friends in Australia decided to grow some moustaches for fun, and now it has expanded into a global event raising millions of dollars for men’s health issues every year. The goal is not only to gather donations but also to spark conversations around men’s health concerns that men typically ignore or put off. This helps bring valuable information regarding prevention and detection to light.
Skin cancer incidence is higher for men
With men dying more frequently from skin cancer than women, this makes the Movember mission particularly relevant. A story published by the Skin Cancer Foundation cited some worrying statistics:
Almost 60 percent of melanoma deaths occur in white men aged 50 years and older, and the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Cancer Progress Report in 2013 noted that melanoma is one of only three malignancies in men whose death rates from 1990 to 2009 increased (by 10.5 percent). In contrast, melanoma death rates in women declined by 9.6 percent over the same period.
According to experts at The Skin Cancer Foundation, these stats have “mainly been attributed to health behaviors and practices in men that result in reduced skin screening and later detection of thicker, more lethal melanoma.”
How Movember can help prevent skin cancer
In addition to opening up new conversations around skin cancer and pledging money to men’s health issues, Movember is also a great reminder and opportunity for men to conduct skin checks. One of the rules of Movember is that every participant must start the month with a clean-shaven face, and a clean face also happens to be the ideal time to do a self skin check. Before any hair starts to grow in, men should examine their face, neck, head and scalp – as well as their entire body – in the mirror for any suspicious moles or skin cancer symptoms. For those that go to a barber for a shave, they can ask them to check out any hard-to-see places on the neck and scalp. In the US, there is even an Eyes on Cancer organization that trains hair and beauty professionals to recognize the signs of melanoma.
The power of Movember lies in the conversation
Movember is a great reminder that prevention often starts with a conversation. So whether you are participating in Movember or not, there’s no better time to start a conversation about skin cancer and share life-saving information on warning signs and symptoms. It is also a great time to pay your doctor a visit or schedule that dermatologist appointment you’ve been putting off.
How Movember works and how to get involved
For those looking to get involved this Movember, all you have to do is:
- Register at movember.com.
- Start with a clean face and grow and groom a moustache for the entire month of November (no fake moustaches, beards or goatees allowed).
- Use your moustache as a conversation starter about men’s health and call on your network to raise money for men’s health issues while you’re at it.
- Attend or host local Movember events.