Sunday, November 21, 2010


This year at the rodeo we heard all about the "tough enough to wear pink" campaign which supported women's breast cancer awareness month in October. It's only now that I've learned about MOvember – too late to participate in the growing, but not to to late to publish about.

The term "Mo" is the slang word around the english speaking world, especially Australia (and perhaps elsewhere as well), for moustache; and November is, well, November.   Put the two together and you've got: MO-vember, the month where there is a growing world-wide initiative to generate similar awareness for a plight of men: Prostate Cancer.   A manly approach to publicizing a manly problem using a "stache" instead of a froofy ribbon.

To "publify" this, a Google Earth file has been created and is available here → Movember. Click on the link if you have Google Earth and see the interesting logo they've come up with – it spins and twirls and highlights just how global the problem is.

By and large, men are known to be more apathetic towards their health, especially when compared to the efforts of women, who proactively and publicly address their health issues in a way not traditionally seen with men. The result is that today the levels of awareness, understanding, and funding for support of male health issues, like prostate cancer, lag significantly behind causes such as breast cancer.

The result of this habit? Well, even in this age where women's health issues are substantially improving, men seem to be dying off at a younger age than women – the average life expectancy for men is five years less than women (presently 77 compared to 82). And there are other significant areas of "lags" as well:
  • 50% of men will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime, women – 33.3%.
  • 17% of men are diagnosed with prostate cancer during their life – even higher if you count findings at autopsies.
  • Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in American males between the ages of 15 and 34.
Our diabetes rate is higher – hypertension rate is higher – AND men commit suicide four times (400%) as often as women! All this on top of being told that "girls are smarter" all through school!

Movember's primary objective is to raise awareness of men's health issues, specifically cancers affecting men.   We want everyone to know that most cancers are highly curable if caught in the early stages – including prostate and testicular cancer.   Movember aims to increase early detection, diagnosis and effective treatment, as this will ultimately reduce the number of deaths from cancer.

Throughout Movember, guys grow their moustaches; so, the moustache becomes the ribbon for men’s health, the means by which awareness and funds are raised for cancers that affect men.   Much like the commitment to run or walk for charity, the men of Movember commit to growing a moustache for 30 days.

At the end of the month, these "Mo Bros" with their "Mo Sistas"  (women who support their Mo Bros)   gather at special gala parties throughout the U.S. to compare moustaches and battle it out for the Man of Movember award … as well as other categories such as: "Team Mo," "BMOC Mo," and, for the facial folically challenged, the "Lame Mo." All this in additon to "Miss Movember" (the Mo Sista judged to be the best dressed) and "The Moscars" which is awarded to the best Movember video [enter by email to Entries close Dec 10.]   [Locate a gathering or other activity.]

Already Actually Working!

After having started in Austrailia only 7 years ago (see below), MOvember has already begun to make a difference! Activities in the US are comparitively only just beginning but could stand to make a substantial difference to the size of the campaign.

IN FACT, more advancement has been made in the last couple of months than in the previous 5 years of research. Using MOvember monies, researchers in Ann Arbor Michigan have just accomplished gene mapping of 24 different kinds of Prostate Cancers! Watch the short video below to see what that means.

It All Began

The idea for Movember was sparked in 2003 over a few beers in Melbourne, Australia. The plan was simple – to bring the moustache back as a bit of a joke and do something for men’s health. No money was raised in 2003, but the guys behind the Mo realized the potential a moustache had in generating conversations about men’s health. Inspired by the women around them and all they had done for breast cancer, the "Mo Bros" set themselves on a course to create a global men’s health movement.

In 2004 the campaign evolved and focused on raising awareness and funds for the number one cancer affecting men – prostate cancer.   432 Mo Bros joined the movement that year, raising $55,000 for the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia – representing the single largest donation they had ever received.

The Movember moustache has grown year after year since then, expanding to the UK, US, Canada, New Zealand, Ireland, Spain, South Africa, the Netherlands and Finland.

In 2009, global participation of Mo Bros and Mo Sistas climbed to 255,755, with over one million donors raising £26 Million (GBP equivalent) for Movember’s global beneficiary partners.

As you know, in the United States there are many charitable organizations desiring monies for activities in the cancer arena.   And even searching for "Movember" on Google will bring up several agencies which seem to divert and dilute much of their donations into many other cancer and non-cancer related activities.

The only organization devoted exclusively to the number one cancer killer in men in the United States is the Prostate Cancer Foundation.   And it is the leading prostate cancer research funding agency in the US.

The success of Movember can be directly attributed to the more than 627,000 Mo Bros and Mo Sistas who have supported the cause to date since 2003. – For those of you new to Movember, please join in changing the face of men's health → U.S. Movember Foundation

Join To Gain U.S. Parity

The idea of Movember took 3 years to spread from Austrailia to New Zeland. The following year events in the US, Canada and the UK and Ireland began. However, despite the large disparity in size of country, last year (2009) Australia raised 21 million (AU$), Canada 7.8 million (CAN$) and the U.S. 3.2 million (US$). [The U.K 4.9 and both Ireland and New Zeland about 1 million each in their respective currencies]

MO-vember deserves to be on just as many calendars, in just as many agendas and on just as many donation-check stubs as Pink-tober.   Moustaches have a very real possibility of being the end of prostate cancer just like dimes and the March of Dimes was the end of Polio

… No kiddin'.   Decide to see how you can help.


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