Throw away your razor and support prostate cancer

Count the seven most important men on your life. Okay, you got the list ready? Well, one of them will get prostate cancer.

Have your attention yet?

In recent years you may have noticed a trend happening among men in the month of November. More men are growing their mustache out, but why? The answer is the ‘Movember’ movement.

Movember was created to help raise awareness to male health, particularly prostate cancer and mental health. Some men grow their ‘Mo’s’ to help raise funds, some grow them out to raise awareness and some just do it for fun. Started in 2003, the Movember movement has increased to 850,000 ‘Mo’s’ around the world, raising a total of $125.7 million in 2011 alone. While much has been done towards changing the attitudes about men’s health, it still has a long way to go to catch up with the women’s health movement.

The funds raised by the Movember campaign will go towards programs ran from the Movember organization which will put the money towards survivorship initiatives for support of the families affected by prostate cancer, awareness and educational programs, research and increase awareness of men’s mental health as well. Funds raised will also go to other programs ran by their partner, Prostate Cancer Canada. In Canada 60% of the money raised goes towards Prostate Cancer initiatives while 40% goes to men’s mental health initiatives.

So here’s an anatomy lesson for those of you who don’t know where or what a prostate is. The prostate is a small glad that sits under the bladder and in front of the rectum. The urethra, which carries seamen and urine out of the penis runs directly through the prostate.

Prostate cancer occurs when cells in the prostate begin to grow uncontrollably. This creates a small tumor in the prostate. At this stage there are few signs that make the cancerous tumor only detectable by blood tests. If detected the disease is often curable. If gone undetected the cancer can cause advance symptoms to appear. These symptoms include pain by pressing on the spine or pelvis, burning or pain when urinating, frequent urination, blood to appear in the urine or semen or pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips, or upper thighs.

Prostate cancer affects one in seven men, which makes it the most common non-skin cancer in Canada. Only one in 10,000 under age 40 will be diagnosed. The rate shoots up to one in 38 for ages 40 to 59, and one in 15 for ages 60 to 69. In fact, about 97% of all prostate cancers are diagnosed in men 50 and older. Prostate cancer is very treatable but 20-30% of men who get treatment will likely have a relapse within five years.

So what do I do to participate in Movember? On Nov. 1st start with a clean shaved face, throughout the month let those mustaches grow in, feel free to trim or style it however you’d like. Remember though, it has to be a mustache, no connecting to a beard. Also read about men’s health, the more you educate yourself the more you can educate others in the matter. Movember can be a fun, easy way to raise funds and awareness for men’s health. So ladies support your men, and fellas support your friends in the Mo-movement.

Jack Wheeler is a personal trainer and owner of 360 Fitness in Red Deer. He can be reached at 403-347-1707 or check out for more information.