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Movember: Changing the face of Men’s health

Since 2003, ‘Movember’ has encouraged people to grow moustaches throughout November to raise funds and awareness about different aspects of Men’s Health.

A registered charity, Movember has funded more than 1,250 projects worldwide, designed to transform how health services reach and support men.

The main aim is to stop so many men from dying before their time from suicide, prostate, or testicular cancer.

Whether you are growing a moustache this year, sponsoring someone who is, or are interested in discovering more, here is some important information to learn this Movember.

Mental Health and Suicide Prevention

Suicide is the biggest cause of death in men aged under 50. The reasons behind it are complex, but it disproportionately affects men – 3 in 4 suicides are men.

Strong social connections can reduce the risk of suicide – men talking to each other does make a difference.

To help others, the first step is spotting the signs.

The conversations might not come easily, but Movember offers a useful guide – ALEC.

Ask – mention something you’ve noticed as a way in. “You don’t quite seem yourself – are you ok?”

Listen – Give full attention without interrupting and empathise. “That can’t be easy, how long have you felt like that?” You don’t need to diagnose or problem-solve.

Encourage – suggest some simple steps – eat and sleep well, get enough exercise – and talk to others you trust who might also be worried.

Check-In – try to meet up again soon, either in person or with a call or text. It shows you care, and you can check how they’re doing.

Movember has great and extensive resources for both getting and giving support.

Get Support | Give Support

Testicular Cancer

Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in younger men, especially those aged 30-34.

Every year in the UK, there are 2,400 new cases of testicular cancer. That’s six every day of the week. And cases have increased by 27% since the 1990s.

The good news is that testicular cancer is highly treatable when caught early, but that depends on people regularly checking themselves – which Movember says 62% of those most at risk don’t know how to do.

The best advice is to get into a habit of regularly checking for lumps or abnormalities every month or so. That way, you’ll notice when something feels different. This video explains the best way to do it.

If you find something different or unusual, ask to see your GP. Testicular lumps are covered by the NHS ‘ 2-week wait’ policy, meaning you will be seen by a specialist within two weeks.

Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the UK, but it mainly affects men over 50. There are over 52,000 new cases and 12,000 deaths every year. The most common age of diagnosis is between 70 and 74.

As we covered in our Check your Risk of Prostate Cancer article earlier this year, an essential part of prevention is understanding your risk.

That is because prostate cancer can develop with little or no clear symptoms.

Your risk of getting prostate cancer increases with age. For men who are black or have a family history, their risk is two and a half times higher.

Movember says that all men should get a PSA test – a simple blood test – at age 50, but black men or those whose brother or dad have had prostate cancer should get tested at 45.

Prostate Cancer UK’s 30-second risk checker will ask you a few questions, determine your risk, and, if it’s high, point you in the right direction.