It's officially Movember, celebrating the very worst in facial hair; men rock moustaches for the 30 days of the month to raise money and awareness for men's cancers – specifically prostate and testicular. The movement is but a groundswell at this point, as it is not officially Prostate Cancer Awareness Month (that would be September) and is just 13 years old. Started by a group of Australian guys interested in raising some money for a cause (and allowing themselves to look a bit ridiculous in the process), the concept has since taken off.
Since 2004, the Movember Foundation has raised $299 million, including $126.5 million in 2011, with over 850,000 global participants. From the graphs on the Movember Foundation's web page, clearly things are on the upswing.
All of the awareness and fundraising is impressive. As a man who is invested in this cause, it is important to me that this keep moving. But it isn't enough. Not yet.
According the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 214,633 Americans were diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2008. Of those, 28,471 died of the disease. Prostate cancer received $1.293 billion in federal funding from 2008 to 2011. This is a lot of money, certainly. But we can raise more, and we can help raise awareness for this devastating disease.
Pop quiz: Can men perform a self prostate exam? What signs should a man look for if concerned about prostate cancer? At what age should he start being tested? What is the major non-profit to which to send donations? Heck, what color is representative of prostate cancer?
How many know that medical castration is a very real treatment option for men with prostate cancer? How many are aware that treatment for prostate cancer can result in the complete shutdown of hormone production in the body? How many men know that, after a radical prostatectomy procedure, the installation of an artificial sphincter is not uncommon?
Isn't this the group that needs awareness to be raised? I would love to see the NFL, Major League Baseball and World Wrestling Entertainment – which all just concluded campaigns for Breast Cancer Awareness Month – give comparable attention to prostate cancer, especially considering the predominantly-male demographics which patronize these businesses. This is not to say that breast cancer should be ignored –it is a very serious condition that obviously demands attention and funding, and the strides made in the diagnosis and treatment of the condition over the last three decades are nothing short of remarkable. But prostate cancer demands attention as well.
Prostate cancer causes should use breast cancer campaigns as the benchmark – this is how much progress can be made with fundraising and awareness.
Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the largest breast cancer awareness and fundraising group, collects more than $400 million in donations each year. By contrast, Movember was a grassroots movement started by a couple of guys who wanted to raise awareness for other guys and, though it has been gaining in popularity, it still needs more help in fundraising and awareness-raising.
Grow a moustache. Look silly for a month. And when people ask questions, tell them the truth about this devastating condition.
And if you want to make a donation to my campaign, I invite you to click this link. And just so you know, this is what you're supporting…
Published On: November 12, 2012