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I’m actually wondering if I should try to actually grow a moustache this November.

Really wondering, because in my 48 years of life, I don’t think I’ve ever grown one, nor have I even attempted to grow one. Simply because I think it wouldn’t work.

But then again, I always fall back to my personal tagline – “Can and can also” So I probably “can” do it, so here’s to trying to grow Moustache in November for Movember.

So why Movember?

 

Movember is an annual event involving the growing of moustaches during the month of November to raise awareness of men’s health issues, such as prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and men’s mental health & suicide prevention. The Movember Foundation runs the Movember charity event, housed at https://movember.com/

The goal of Movember is to “change the face of men’s health.”

Prostates and Testicles are parts of the Male reproductive system, which are functionally unique only for the male gender.It is the 2nd most frequently diagnosed cancer in Men worldwide (after lung cancer) and accounts for 3.8% of cancer deaths in the world in 2018.  In Europe and North America, Prostate Cancer is the most frequent and second most frequently diagnosed cancer respectively at least in 2018. [1]  For Malaysia, the world health organization statistics of Prostate Cancer in Malaysia to be 3rd  most frequently diagnosed at  9.3% of cancers in Males.

[2] So out of an population of 16,630,813 males, the incidence of  new cases of prostate cancer in 2020, 0.13%, meaning 13 out of every 100 Malaysian Males being diagnosed with Prostate Cancer. The odds of being diagnosed increase with age, with the average age of being diagnosed to be 66 years of age. Those odds are something which shouldn’t be trifled with!

Early symptoms of prostate cancer include frequent urination, straining to empty the bladder, frequent urges to urinate at night, blood in the urine and erectile dysfunction. Early detection of prostate cancer can be done by Prostate Antigen Specific (PSA) screening, which can start at about 40 years of age. However, please do discuss prostate cancer screening with your doctor prior to doing so. There is treatment for Prostate Cancers from among others, chemotherapy, radiotherapy to surgery, including Robotic Assisted Surgery. Advancements have allowed treatment of Prostate Cancers treatable and improve the quality of life even after the diagnosis of Prostate Cancer.

Testicular Cancer, ranks about 9th to 10th as most frequent cancers in males aged 0-14 years and 14-49 years.[3] Early presentations of Testicular Cancer included swellings in the testis or groin areas among other things. Such symptoms would warrant a visit to the doctor and have a form of medical imaging done, from Ultrasound scans to CT or PET scans done, together with blood and sometimes even surgical investigations to diagnose the condition. Definitive treatment includes Surgery, Chemotherapy and Radiotherapy.

Which brings us to Men’s Mental Health and Suicide.

The Pandemic has certainly not helped with improving Mental Health.

The added stress of living in a Crisis environment, and the general expectations of Men in the Asian Culture to be the breadwinners of the family has most certainly pushed the limits and tolerance of many men to deal with the environment.

Cultural Expectations have to be renewed and looked at again, we have to understand and look toward progressive thinking of Mental Health being as important as Physical Health, and the maintenance of Mental Health is just as important as Physical Health.

Looking at the need of constant exercise, diet control, cessation of smoking and excessive alcohol consumption to improve Physical Health, we have to do the same.

Keeping a constant positive outlook, discussing issues of stress, cessation of smoking and excessive alcohol consumption overlaps between Physical and Mental Health. Areas of concern in these times of crisis include increased substance abuse. The pandemic crisis has resulted in an increase in working from home, to increase social distancing.

In Social distancing, it has been a matter of necessity to prevent spread of the disease, but in itself has created the feeling of isolation and loneliness.[4,5]. Everyone has different coping mechanisms and different tolerance for stress.

Take the time to pay attention to your own mental health, starting with adequate sleep, physical exercise, well balanced meals, avoiding substance abuse. Most importantly, even in the need for social distancing, keep communication channels with your friends and relative open, through channels such as the phone and social media channels.

Having someone to discuss and talk things over with is always the first step towards finding a solution and relive from mental stress.

For those who can, Movember is about growing a Moustache in November!