No, Movember is not a typo, and no, it has nothing to do with digital displays. Movember – ‘Moustache’ and ‘November’ geddit?, Ed is an annual, month-long event involving the growing of moustaches during the month of November to raise awareness of prostate cancer, other male cancers and associated charities.
I grew my first moustache at the age of 17. My school was very strict about the uniform but said nothing about facial hair. So a couple of us rebelled and expressed our individuality by growing moustaches. It was the Sergeant Pepper era, so mine became a droopy ‘Zappata’ moustache.
It stuck with me as a trademark until my mid-twenties when it got shortened to a businessman’s moustache. Not that being a junior executive in a record company could strictly qualify as business but that’s how it seemed at the time.
And that’s how my family got to know me – always with the moustache. In 1998 when I started a new job and a new life in Brussels, I cut it off. My wife was very stoic about it, but my then teenage daughter refused to speak to me for a good month. And when Movember came along, guess who talked me into growing one again…?
I have another good reason for joining the movement.
In 1996 my father died of prostrate cancer. He must have had it for years but never talked about it. I found out later that he’d told my aunt about having “the big C” but that was it…Then years later a good friend and former colleague of mine was diagnosed and had his prostate removed and survived – he suggested that I do a PSA test just in case, but I didn’t. I also ignored warning signs of peeing frequently and never visited doctors about anything. Fast-forward to 2007 when a chance medical visit resulted in a general check up and series of blood tests. Everything quite perfect apart from a PSA of 24 – those who know about these figures know that a range of between 2 and 4 is tolerable – so I was in trouble. Three months later, thanks to a skilled surgeon, a great clinic and a supportive family, the offending organ was removed and I’m fine.
But the Movember message is clear, guys – when you get to 50, get a PSA test every few years. It’s a simple, harmless, cheap blood test that can save you a lot of misery….
And if anyone would like to help to finance my moustache, they can do so here:
As they say, all contributions gratefully received. And if the Editor agrees, I’ll be back soon with photographic evidence of progress…
The Movember Foundation runs the Movember charity event, housed at Movember.com. The goal of Movember is to “change the face of men’s health.” By encouraging men (which the charity refers to as “Mo Bros”) to get involved, Movember aims to increase early cancer detection, diagnosis and effective treatments, and ultimately reduce the number of preventable deaths. Besides getting an annual check-up, the Movember Foundation encourages men to be aware of any family history of cancer, and to adopt a healthier lifestyle.