Movember is an annual event, held throughout the month of November every year. The aim of the campaign is to raise awareness of men’s health issues such as prostate cancer, testicular cancer and men’s mental health.
Gender and age are one of the strongest predictors of health and life expectancy. The Global Burden Disease study led by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation showed that throughout the period of 1970 to 2010, females had a longer life expectancy than men. By 2010, on the whole, women were outliving men by an average of almost 6 years. According to WHO European Regions review of the social determinants of health, men’s lower life expectancy may be attributed to several factors - greater exposure to hazardous chemicals, behaviour associated with male norms of risk-taking and the fact that men are less likely to visit a doctor when they are ill. This gender health gap highlights the need to promote men‘s health in order to reduce preventable deaths.
The incidence of prostate cancer varies widely across countries and it’s the fourth most common cancer. In 2015, a total of 220,800 men were diagnosed with prostate cancer in the United States. The incidence rates in the past 10 years have fallen on average of 4.3% due to the introduction of cancer screening with prostate-specific antigen (PSA) and the use of subsequent pathologic diagnosis. When compared with prostate cancer, testicular cancer is less common disease, however, it’s the most common cancer diagnosed in men aged 15-35 years. By detecting these diseases early, the survival rate is as high as 99%.
Suicide is a complex and sensitive issue with multiple causes associated with it. In 2017, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention reports that men died by suicide 3.5 times more compared to females. This is due to the stigma, taboo and the lack of informative discussion surrounding mental health. This might be also due to the societal construction of what masculinity is; male gender roles tend to emphasize greater levels of strength, independence, risk-taking behaviour and this societal pressure might cause males not to seek help and advice regarding issues with mental health.
How to get involved?
- Grow a moustache- by taking part in this, it can encourage conversation about men’s health and inspire donations.
- Move – commit to running or walking 60kms over the month. That’s 60km for the 60 men we lost to suicide each hour, every hour across the world.
- Host - this could be hosting any events such as a pub quiz, a shave down party; this encourages donations and promotes men’s health by having important conversations.
Hopefully, by discussing men’s physical and mental health regarding the causes, risk factors and consequences, Movember can help to close this gender health gap seen which would benefit society significantly.
- Baker P et al (2013). The men’s health gap: men must be included in the global health equity agenda. Bulletin of the World Health Organization. 92:618-620. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.2471/BLT.13.132795
- Filippou, P., Ferguson, J. E., 3rd, & Nielsen, M. E. (2016). Epidemiology of Prostate and Testicular Cancer. Seminars in interventional radiology, 33(3), 182–185. doi:10.1055/s-0036-1586146