It started more than a decade ago with a fairly goofy objective: Men who ordinarily went through the rest of the year clean-shaven would spend November getting fuzzy, at least above the upper lip. They’d take pledges from people willing to donate for the sheer novelty of it, and the money would go toward helping raise awareness of prostate cancer. The founders called it “Movember.” (They were Australian, see, and Down Under “Mo” is slang for “mustache.”)
The initiative succeeded more than that first group could ever have hoped: Thirteen years later, Movember is a global men’s-health movement that has expanded to encompass not just prostate cancer but also testicular cancer, depression, obesity, inactivity and more.
Any health program that focuses only on one month, however, is entirely inadequate. Where Movember has truly done men worldwide a service is in encouraging them to make their well-being a 24/7/365 concern. Talking about their health, even to their physician, doesn’t always come easy to men, after all — and the global conversation Movember started and has sustained since 2003 has been invaluable in helping change that dynamic.
So join the movement! For the rest of Movember, of course — but also through December, 2016 and beyond. Men: Pay attention to your body and your health. Women: Encourage all the men in your life — your father, brother, boyfriend, husband, son — to do the same. Understand the warning signs for ailments like testicular cancer and other illnesses. Talk about it all openly. There’s no shame in it — and the potential benefits are vast. Lastly, when concerns do arise, be sure to see an expert, like the ones at The Philadelphia Center for Sexual Medicine.
The men from Movember got it started, all those years ago. It’s up to us, all of us, to keep it going: today, tomorrow and beyond.