Movember is upon us – that month of the year wedged between October and December, when hundreds of thousands of men across the world seek to grow a moustache in aid of men’s health.
At the time of writing, 35,812 men in the UK have registered to take part – including me for the second time.
The first time was while I was living in Geneva in 2011 – more on the story here. My Dad had been given a dire prognosis for aggressive prostate cancer earlier that year. “You’ve got four years,” said his consultant, rather bluntly and without being asked.
We were shocked and upset. My understanding is that the proffered time-frame factored in the impact of treatment. But after surgery and a course of radiotherapy, the cancer went into remission and – though it needs regular monitoring – it is not an active threat.
We are four years on from my first Movember and so we can now say – officially – the consultant was pessimistic (or optimistic, depending on how much he wanted to see the back of his patient.)
So far, so good.
But prostate cancer is still with us. The Movember Foundation says:
- 1 in 8 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point in their lives.
- Every hour one man dies from prostate cancer in the UK.
- Each year over 42,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer in the UK.
Now the Movember focus on men’s health seems to be more holistic than in the past. The foundation bemoans the fact that “on average, across the world, men die 6 years earlier than women.” In addition to the threat of prostate and testicular cancer, the World Health Organisation estimates that 510,000 men take their own lives every year. That’s more than one every minute.
There is much work to be done.
My Movember page is here. Please give generously!