Movember: STM Students Get Growing for a Good Cause
By: Tuong Kuwabong
November had an element of class this year, as it has since 2003. That was the year the organization "Sons of Movember" was born in Melbourne, Australia. Seeking to bring further awareness to prostate cancer, the most diagnosed cancer in men, they invented the fun and increasingly popular movement of adorning upper lips with moustaches to turn ordinary men into walking billboards that promote awareness of prostate cancer. From only 30 participants with no donations in 2003, to $125,700,000 raised by 854,288 worldwide participants in 2011, Movember is slowly integrating into pop culture.
Sons of Movember, the official Movember group, seeks to promote awareness and education of prostate cancer, aid research and support those diagnosed, as well as survivors. A lesser known objective is to bring awareness to men’s mental health. Most of their donations are received through their website, where one may simply donate or buy a wide range of merchandise, from shirts to skateboards.
And their campaigns have worked. Sixty-six percent of men exposed to Movember have had a recent general check-up due to increased awareness, and 48% carried out personal research on men’s health.
Of the money Sons of Movember collects, 89.6% is distributed to Men’s Health Programs (77.7% of that went to Prostate Cancer Canada in 2011 and 11.9% went to the Global Action Plan to increase prostate cancer publicity), 4.9% to fundraising costs, 1% for salaries, insurances, office maintenance, and other administrative costs, and 4.5% in retained funds to ensure there is capital to invest in the next Movember.
So what exactly is prostate cancer? It is, as its name suggests, cancer of the prostate, found just beneath the bladder in the body cavity. It is the most common cancer among men today, with 1 in 7 men expected to be diagnosed with it at some point in their lives. Researchers believe diets high in fat and low in fibre increase the chances of prostate cancer. Saturated fats (found in whole milk, processed foods, and fatty meats) are believed to accelerate prostate cancer growth, as they increase testosterone levels, which in turn trigger the cancer cells to increase. However, a low BMI (Body Mass Index), tomatoes and their by-products, green tea and dark, leafy greens can help reduce the risk of this cancer. Even with these precautions, it can still occur. It can also be mildly genetic.
The symptoms of prostate cancer include difficulty urinating, frequent urination, or blood in the urine. These symptoms, however, may not appear until the cancer is well advanced. There are two main tests to monitor prostate health, the PSA (Prostate-Specific Antigen) and the DRE (Digital Rectal Exam). But sometimes these tests are not enough to diagnose or even detect the cancer, which is why it is important to go for regular testing. There are also many treatments for all stages of the cancer, although it is harder to contain and destroy the cancer when it is further advanced, as the cancer cells may travel throughout the body.
So what can you do to support this noteworthy cause? If you are male, you can grow a moustache. You may sign up at movember.com or at school here at St. Thomas More for next year's campaign. Five STM students formally participated this year: Michael Atta, John Stones, Lucas Bellavia, Abraham Shahein and Mac Onde. Humble and a bit shy during their short interviews, they all stated that they participated because it was a “good cause.” Bellavia planned to participate with a friend, but even when his friend withdrew he kept up with Movember. Only Onde still has his moustache; he likes the aesthetics. Bellavia would have kept it, but he remarked how, when combined with his hockey helmet, the beard became too irritating to keep past November. Stones was disappointed in his moustache, so it had to go, while Atta would consider growing it again, just because. When asked what they would name their moustache, both Stones and Atta christened theirs “Bob”, Onde liked “Norman” for his, and Bellavia preferred to leave his nameless and anonymous. Congratulations to you boys for giving up your faces for the Movember cause!
If you’re looking to participate next year and grow a moustache, artofmanliness.com and broadsheet.com have some nice tips on maintaining a moustache.
* Grow it out for a month before shaping it (just in time for your end of Movember party)
* If maintaining it yourself, buy the real equipment (kitchen scissors will not suffice)
* Shampoo and condition it to keep it soft
* Once it is at the proper length, trim it weekly (Trim it dry. Wet hair tends to look longer)
* If you moustache is long enough, you can use special moustache wax to keep it in place.
* Your moustache doesn’t need feeding. To keep food out make sure the moustache ends just before the upper lip.
Girls, don’t fret that you cannot grow a moustache. You can still donate to the cause and support Movember by buying Movember merchandise. November may be gone, but perhaps this Christmas season a small donation will buy the gift of life and may be the most selfless gift you can give.