You may have been hearing the term Movember for the past few years during the month of November and wondered what is was all about. The Movember movement started back in 2003 and has grown to over 5 million members (Mo Bros and Mo Sistas as they are referred to on their website). So why are men randomly deciding to grow out their mustaches during the month of November?
What is Movember?
Movember is an abbreviation for “Moustache November”: a time when men grow out there moustaches in efforts to start a conversation and raise money for men’s health. As it states on their website, “The Movember Foundation is a global charity committed to men living happier, healthier and longer lives. Since 2003, millions have joined the men’s health movement, raising $650 million and funding over 1,000 programs focusing on prostate cancer, testicular cancer, poor mental health and physical inactivity.”
While the foundation donates money to several organizations, at Philadelphia Urology Associates their prostate cancer research donations are the focal point of the campaign that strikes the closest to home. About 1 man in 7 will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men (after skin cancer), but can often be treated successfully - especially when detected early. More than 2 million men in the US alone consider themselves prostate cancer survivors.
Why We Need Prostate Cancer Awareness
It’s because of these statistics that awareness about prostate cancer is essential. Generally, at the early and potentially curable stage, prostate cancer does not have obvious symptoms. This makes it even more important for men to know their risks and to visit their doctor for testing.
Testing for prostate cancer can be administered two ways:
- Digital Rectal Examination (DRE)- The doctor inserts a gloved finger into the rectum to feel the prostate gland. This may detect hard lumps in the prostate before symptoms occur.
- Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA)- This test measures the amount of PSA in the blood. PSA blood test is not a cancer-specific diagnostic test; however, it will alert doctors to abnormal growth in the prostate.
A combination of both a DRE and PSA blood test is recommended. These tests should be considered as part of a general male health check annually from 50 years of age, or 40 if there is a family history of prostate cancer.
The American Cancer Society recommends that the discussions about prostate cancer testing should take place at the following ages:
- Age 50: For men who are at average risk of prostate cancer
- Age 45: For men at a high risk of developing prostate cancer (men who have a first-degree relative (father, brother, or son) diagnosed with prostate cancer at an early age (younger than age 65)
- Age 40: For men at an even greater risk for developing prostate cancer (those with more than one first-degree relative who had prostate cancer at an early age)
If no prostate cancer is found during your PSA test, you may choose to time your future screenings depending on your results:
- Men who choose to be tested who have a PSA of less than 2.5 ng/ml, may only need to be retested every 2 years.
- Yearly screenings should be done for men whose PSA level is 2.5 ng/ml or higher.
What You Can Do
Philadelphia Urology Associates believes in the same principles that the Movember Foundation has put forth. They seek to:
- Deepen the worldwide knowledge of prostate cancer through research.
- Trial and implement ways to improve the lives of men from diagnosis through to treatment, decision-making, active recovery and wellbeing.
- Raise awareness and ensure that prostate cancer is a public priority.
- Educate men on when and how to take action.
If you would like to donate to the Movember Foundation and support prostate cancer research and the other things describe above, click here.
If you are at the age where it is time to be checked for prostate cancer, we strongly advise you to take this disease seriously and to schedule an appointment to get tested with us today. You can schedule an appointment online or call us at (215) 563-1199.