What’s in a hairy lip

Movember popularity growing, along with education about prostate cancer

Men don’t like to think about their nether regions too much. Let alone talk about them.

Movember is trying to change that.

Movember started in 2003 as a bet between two buddies in Australia to see who could grow the best moustache. Some more friends joined in and started to turn the challenge into an awareness and fundraising campaign for prostate cancer.

Last year, 447,808 registered participants raised $76.8 million worldwide.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer to affect Canadian men, afflicting one in seven. It will kill 4,100 men this year. But if caught early, it is 90 per cent curable.

Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of symptoms to alert its presence. That’s why Prostate Cancer Canada recommends men over 40 talk to their doctor about a prostate examination, including a PSA blood test.

For many men, that’s a rather uncomfortable proposition.

But 25 years ago, breast cancer lurked similarly in the shadows. Since then, propelled by runs, walks and paddles, awareness about breast cancer and fundraising to help find its cure has exploded into the public consciousness.

Since 1999, the incidence of breast cancer in Canada has stabilized, and since 1986 the death rate from breast cancer has dropped 30 per cent. Women are benefitting from better screening and advances in treatment.

As yet there are not many mass runs for prostate cancer and no ribbons of reminder to be worn on lapels.

But there is Movember. And it’s as simple as neglecting to shave for 30 days. Or pledging support to someone who’s participating.

— Burnaby NewsLeader


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