There’s Mo’ to Movember | By Maggie Danko

A phenomenon has swept across the faces of men around the world. Each November, millions of men cultivate monstrous mustaches for 30 days, and then go back to their clean-shaven norm. Even those guys who look like they belong on a “most wanted” list when donning facial hair proudly parade their ‘staches for this one month a year. Why, you might ask? It’s Movember! A month dedicated to raising awareness about men’s health while also fundraising for research into male health initiatives.

While December 1 brought many sighs of relief from women around the world, it’s important that we look beyond the mo’s and to the deeper purpose these mustaches represent. So why is men’s health important? Well listen up gentlemen, you are not invincible. The life expectancy for a man is about 5 years shorter than it is for a woman. As well, men like to appear tough and will often avoid seeking treatment for health care issues for as long as possible. Prostate cancer is one of the least talked about cancers, and yet 1 in 7 men will develop this illness in their lives. And listen up all you students! Testicular cancer is the leading cancer in males age 15 to 29. That’s your age group. While testicular cancer probably isn’t a usual conversation starter when you’re hangin’ with the guys, it is an illness that is more likely to target you than your father. So while men may not like to talk about their health, it’s something they need to speak up about.

Enter Movember. Start clean-shaven. Grow a mustache. Document your journey. Get sponsorship and support from family and friends that will support men’s health research. Talk about men’s health. And voila! A successful strategy to strip these cancers and issues of the stigma that they carry.

So Mo friends, here is my advice to you. When someone asks you about your incredible mustache, before you jump to talking about the great styling products you use, think about why you are doing this. What does your mo stand for? If your mo can save even one of your friends from developing testicular or prostate cancer, your mo made a difference. While Movember 2012 is over, 2013 is a mere 11 months away…

For more on Movemeber, check out some of the best moustaches at the University of Alberta & Grant MacEwan here.

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