The month of November has become synonymous with raising awareness for men’s health –
and it’s all centred around growing a moustache.
The movement is coined as Movember and it has become a much-loved way to spark conversations, raise money, honour the memory of men lost to cancer or mental health and forge a way forward in health initiatives.
In 2023, Movember is celebrating 20 years and reflecting on the impact the far-reaching movement has had on men’s health in that time.
An idea conceived in a Melbourne bar, today it reaches 23 countries and has contributed to thousands of projects helping men and their families impacted by a diagnosis.
The efforts of thousands of money-raising ‘Mo Bros’ who grow their best moustaches every year assist the charity to break down stigmas, educate, offer support and resources and fund groundbreaking research.
Movember funding has led to the development of five life-extending therapies, three PET imaging radiotracers and a revolutionary blood test.
It also aided two of the most significant medical breakthroughs in the management of advanced prostate cancer in the 21st century: scans that can detect the smallest of tumours once they have spread outside the prostate and radioactive molecules that can destroy cancer cells without damaging surrounding healthy tissue.
These inventions have contributed to a decline of up to a third in the prostate cancer death rate across five out of the six countries where Movember operates.
Movember CEO Michelle Terry says the movement has achieved so much in two decades, but there’s always more work to be done.
“The harsh reality is that globally, we lose one man to suicide every minute of every day; prostate cancer is estimated to be the most diagnosed cancer in men; and testicular cancer is the most common cancer in young men,” Ms Terry says.
“Our fathers, partners, brothers and friends are facing a health crisis and we can’t afford to stay silent. That’s why we’ll continue to make noise, to push boundaries and to help shape the health and wellbeing of men for generations to come.
“We know that healthier men make healthier families, communities and societies.”
So, what’s next for men’s health in Australia? In a groundbreaking move to revolutionise personalised cancer care in Australia, the federal government – through Cancer Australia – has pledged a $5 million investment into the Australian Real World Cancer Evidence Network.
This initiative, spearheaded by Movember and Monash University, will involve the implementation of a national platform to track the outcomes and experiences of cancer patients.
The automated technology will rapidly advance personalised cancer care research and help bridge the gap between evidence and clinical practice to improve patient outcomes.
For more information on this month’s campaign, visit movember.com.
Movember’s impact over 20 years
- The Movember movement has supported more than 1320 men’s health projects across 23 countries since 2003.
- Since 2006 Movember has funded the development of 54 inventions, 70 therapies and 107 diagnostic tests for prostate cancer.
- Movember has invested almost $350 million in more than 600 biomedical research projects focusing on prostate and testicular cancer.
- The movement has funded four prostate cancer registries, with more than 200,000 men.
Sunshine Coast lawyer and passionate Movember campaigner Nick Sobey is once again getting behind the cause in 2023. Inspired by his late father Michael Sobey, Nick is passionate about continuing his dad’s proud legacy of raising $60,000 for men’s health over 15 years. Nick spoke with My Weekly Preview about what Movember means to him and reminds men to keep on top of their health – no matter their age.
How long have you been participating in Movember and what inspired you to start growing a mo? I have been a ‘Mo Bro’ for six years. My initial inspiration was to see if I could grow a moustache for a good cause (which fortunately was a yes). But after my dad was diagnosed with cancer, it was to do whatever I could to support him and men’s mental health.
Why is Movember so close to your heart? My Dad was a stalwart campaigner for Movember since 2009, running yearly lunches and rocking some pretty incredible mos over the years. When he passed away from bowel cancer last year, I couldn’t think of a better way to support his legacy and to continue the good work my dad did for the community.
Do you have a theme this year for your mo-growing campaign? This year I am doing a ‘mystery mo’, with hints coming out for my final mo formation on November 31. The second hint for this month is that the mystery mo belongs to a great sportsman.
From you experience, tell us how the Sunshine Coast community gets behind the campaign and what it means to have that support? The Sunshine Coast community is an incredible place to be a part of, and this shines through with the hundreds of charities and community organisations all around the Coast. Last year, the community came out in force and we raised over $18,000 for bowel cancer and $35,000 for Movember at the Michael Sobey Memorial Lunch, which is absolutely amazing. I’m certain the community will be behind this year’s event and I’m hoping we can raise even more for such a great cause.
What is your message to men this Movember? That cancer – prostate, bowel or otherwise – doesn’t discriminate. My Dad passed away at 50 and was fairly fit and healthy when he first got his diagnosis at 48. So, if it’s been a while since a check-up, it might be worth it to book one in this month – it might save your life. Mental health doesn’t discriminate either, and sometimes the most confident and happy people we know can be dealing with some pretty difficult things. So, after you’ve booked that appointment, take a moment to call a mate and check in – it might save their life, too.
Visit movember.com and find the ‘Michael Sobey Memorial’ team to support Nick’s campaign.
Movember’s tips to take action over your health
- Spend time with people who make you feel good: Stay connected. Your mates are important and spending time with them is good for you. Catch up regularly, check in and make time.
- Talk, more: You don’t need to be an expert and you don’t have to be the sole solution, but being there for someone, listening and giving your time can be lifesaving.
- Know the numbers: At 50, talk to your doctor about prostate cancer and whether it’s right for you to have a PSA test. If you have a father or brother with prostate cancer, you should be having this conversation at 45. Know your numbers, know your risk and talk to your doctor.
- Know thy nuts: Get to know what’s normal for your testicles. Give them a check regularly and go to the doctor if something doesn’t feel right.
- Move more: Add more activity to your day. Do more of what makes you feel good. Take a walking meeting. Park further away. Instead of the lift, take the stairs. Cycle to work instead of driving.
If this article has raised issues for you, or someone you know, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or MensLine Australia on 1300 789 978.
By The Numbers
- Men will die on average 4.5 years earlier than women.
- Suicide is the leading cause of premature death for men. Men who died by suicide had a median age at death of 44.
- More than six men die by suicide each day.
- One-in-five men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime.
- 70,386 is the number of men diagnosed with prostate cancer in the past five years who are now living with or have moved beyond the disease.
- Prostate cancer is the most-commonly diagnosed cancer in Aussie men.
- Testicular cancer is the most-common cancer in young men aged 15 to 34 years.
- 4279 is the number of men diagnosed with testicular cancer in the past five years, who are now living with or have moved beyond the disease.