movemberIt’s that time of the year again! Moustaches will be everywhere. For those of you who aren’t familiar with this campaign, you should know that it isn’t just a way for individuals to annoy their significant others or make fun of those who do wear moustaches on the regular. Instead, it is a global movement aimed at “changing the face of men’s health!”

So, how does it work? Well, people are first encouraged to register at Movember.com and start off the month of November clean-shaven to begin their challenge. Family and friends can then see their mo bro’s progress online and donate money, which then goes towards testicular and prostate research.

In addition to supporting research, the Movember movement also encourages people to discuss their health concerns with one another. After all, it is an awareness campaign for the most common male-bodied health problems, such as testicular and prostate cancer, as well as mental illness.

Testicular cancer is the most prevalent cancer found in men aged 15 to 29 years-old, yet many people in this demographic are unaware of the risk, or are too embarrassed to seek medical attention.

Testicular cancer is very treatable when detected early on, with a 96 percent survival rate. This is why it is essential to know what signs and symptoms to look out for.

Being familiar with the size and shape of your testicles is very important, and can be achieved through a monthly self-examination.

The first step to this examination is a visual inspection for any abnormalities, such as swelling, lumps, or any overall changes since the last inspection. Second, the weight of your testes should be assessed, followed by gently rolling them between your fingers to feel for lumps or pain. For more information on testicular cancer, and the steps to take for testicular self-examination, refer to Testicular Cancer Canada’s website.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in male-bodied people, with one in seven suffering from prostate cancer during their lifetime. It is also the second leading cause of cancer-related male-bodied deaths in Canada, the first being lung cancer.

If detected early on, treatment for prostate cancer, similar to testicular cancer, has a 95 percent success rate, based upon this early recognition. Knowing the signs and symptoms can make all the difference in early detection.

You should look out for changes in urination routine, such as increased frequency, trouble starting or stopping urine flow, or ejaculatory problems.

Talk to your doctor about your prostate health during your annual health check-up, or immediately if any of these symptoms occur. For more information about prostate health, refer to Prostate Cancer Canada’s website.

Mental health is an important topic which is often overlooked when discussing men’s health. People face numerous barriers regarding mental health, from the stigma associated with mental illness, to trying to conform to the stereotype of perceived masculinity associated with minimal emotional disclosure.

However, just because men do not talk about mental illness does not mean it is not abundant in the male-bodied population.

One in five male-bodied people will suffer from a mental illness in their lifetime, and men are four times more likely to die by suicide than women.

Depression is the most common illness that affects men in Canada, with approximately 840 thousand affected each year.

Movember is trying to change how men see mental illness by encouraging them to seek help and engage in meaningful conversation about their mental health issues with one another.

For more information on men’s mental health, visit the Canadian Mental Health Association’s website.

To make Movember a successful campaign, it is important to embrace the “mo” and not be afraid to start talking about these issues.

As the weather starts to get colder, and November draws closer, make sure to register at Movember.com, and start growing your lip sweaters to show your support for this campaign!

For those of you who can’t grow a moustache, you can also register to show your support and help create more open communication about male-bodied health.