‘Movember’ raises funds for prostate cancer research

With the cooler temperatures comes the reminder that it’s time to consider growing a moustache for an excellent cause.

Men around the world have been signing onto the ‘Movember’ cause – growing a moustache through November while raising funds for prostate cancer research.

Supported by the women in their lives, Mo Sistas, Movember Mo Bros raise funds by seeking out sponsorship for their Mo-growing efforts.

Those interested in taking part can register at Movember.com with a clean-shaven face. According to the web site, for the rest of the month, the ‘Mo Bros’ groom and trim their moustaches while signing up support of friends and family.

A ‘Stache Bash’ is set for Nov. 30 at Chillabongs, starting at 8 p.m. Participants will have the chance to be judged on their moustaches, with several prizes to be handed down.

It’s also a fun evening as guys are encouraged to dress-up in a manner that matches their moustaches, said organizer Steve Snelgrove.

Last year, $125.7 million was raised around the world, with 854,288 men signing up for the cause. That’s a far cry from the initiative’s humble beginnings back in 2004, when 450 guys signed up and raised $50,000.

According to the web site Movember and Sons, the campaign is also serving as an effective ‘awareness-building’ tool. Ninety per cent of participants say they’ve spent time thinking about improving their health, and
75% say they’ve discussed their health with family, friends or colleagues during Movember.

Also,
35% understood that their health depends on how well they take care of themselves,
66% of participants have had a recent general check-up and
48% of participants carried out personal research on men’s health issues during Movember.

Statistics show that one in seven men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime. In 2012, 26,500 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed and 4,000 will lose their battle.

Prostate cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in men after skin cancer, and the incidence rates are nearly double for in African American men. But if detected and treated early, prostate cancer has a 95% success rate.

While there are cases of prostate cancer showing up in younger men, it is recommended that men begin an annual screening at age 50 and at age 40 if there is a family history.

Regarding Movember, the movement was launched back in 2003 by some guys in Australia who wanted to bring back the moustache into fashion while raising money for prostate cancer research. There are now formal campaigns in Australia, New Zealand, the U.S., Canada, the UK, Finland, the Netherlands, Spain, South Africa and Ireland.

Besides fundraising for prostate cancer research, Movember representatives say they will also continue to work to change habits and attitudes men have about their health and to educate men about the health risks they face.

Meanwhile, for those struggling with the disease, there is a group of men here in Red Deer who are ready to offer support.

The Red Deer Prostate Cancer Support Group (Prostate Cancer Canada Network – local chapter) has been lending a supportive hand for 15 years now. It was first launched by Bill Martynes and Mike Eckenswiller, with help from Marg Scheyen of the Canadian Cancer Society.

Martynes knew from his own experiences battling the disease (he was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1997) that it was critical to build a supportive network.

Today, between 15 and 30 men attend, and friends and family members are also welcome to take part, he said.

There are four basic rules for the meetings, which run the third Thursday of every month at Gaetz United Church in the basement. Meetings begin at 7:30 p.m.

First, they must start on time and secondly, they must end on time, he adds with a laugh. Third, those in attendance must laugh at least four times during the course of a meeting. And finally, what is said in the room must stay in the room.

When new people visit, typically the guys go around the circle and share their experiences fighting prostate cancer.

There is no pressure for anyone to share if they don’t want to.

But Martynes says that even men who decline to talk at first often end up sharing with someone by the meeting’s end. Many newcomers are newly diagnosed and have been presented with several treatment options by their doctors. Sometimes they are confused about the next steps and men who’ve been through treatment are able to help out with advice and share their own experiences.

For more information or to pledge support for a Mo Bro, check out ca.movember.com.

editor@reddeerexpress.com

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