Are you joining the Movember conversation?



The idea for the global men’s health initiative Movember began in 2003 over a beer when two young men in Australia persuaded 30 friends to grow a mustache in November for charity. The Movember Foundation hasn’t stopped growing since and today there are more than five million ‘Mo Bros’ (or mustache brothers) and ‘Mo Sistas’ committed to making a difference. 

Since 2003, the Movember Foundation has funded more than 1,200 men’s health projects around the world. Movember is now an annual event in 21 countries, funding research in prostate and testicular cancers, while encouraging men to talk more openly about their health in general. 
During the month of Movember - a mix of November and mustaches - men grow mustaches to support the cause and encourage people to raise awareness and funds for projects addressing men’s health issues, including prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental health, and suicide prevention. The Movember Foundation aims to reduce the number of men dying prematurely by 25% and to halve the number of men dying from prostate cancer by 2030. 
Curious to know if our male colleagues at Sanofi - sons, fathers, husbands, brothers, partners, friends - were growing mustaches to support Movember and were comfortable talking about their health, we asked them: 

  1. Are you aware of Movember? If not, how aware are you of your health?
  2. Do men discuss health problems or is that off limits? 
  3. Movember is meant to encourage people to talk about cancer and men’s health; are you planning to spark the conversation with your friends and family to help raise awareness? 

Here’s what they told us:

Movember men, interview of Team Samofi

Team SaMOfi, Consumer Healthcare, Australia

Are you aware of Movember? If not, how aware are you of your health?
A few of us have been supporting Movember for years, and a few just started this year. All of us want to participate because it’s genuinely a good cause to drive general awareness for a number of men’s health issues. 

Do men discuss health problems or is that off limits? 
It really depends on who is around to talk about it – generally it is only with close friends that we are comfortable with. Overall, we feel that men are getting better at discussing men’s health problems. There seems to be a recognition that it isn’t this ‘taboo subject’ that it once was, and as a generation we seem to be getting better at it. When we think about depression among men and women, while it is becoming more acceptable to talk about it, we still sometimes don’t talk as much as we should, until the problem is serious, or it’s too late. 

Movember is meant to encourage people to talk about cancer and men’s health; are you planning to spark the conversation with your friends and family to help raise awareness? 
As a team, we have sent out an initial email to the business to drive awareness around what we are doing and to invite any other potential participants to join us. We also created t-shirts to wear on casual Fridays which help to spark conversation around the office and prompt donations. We have also all been sharing the team/individual pages on our respective social media accounts to help drive awareness and engagement.

Movember men, interview of Joshua

Joshua Ponnudorai, Senior Product Manager, Established Products, Malaysia

Are you aware of Movember? If not, how aware are you of your health?
I became aware of Movember in 2010 when I was a sales representative. I noticed (male) doctors in the urological department suddenly sprouting beards. They then told me about Movember and about Lance Armstrong’s story, which has contributed greatly to the awareness of testicular cancer. 

Do men discuss health problems or is that off limits?
Generally no. Sports, politics and everything else takes precedence. 

Movember is meant to encourage people to talk about cancer and men’s health; are you planning to spark the conversation with your friends and family to help raise awareness?
Yes - I think it's important to bring attention to it in an engaging way. The beard certainly does helps spark a conversation. 

Movember men, interview of Poh

Poh Ow Ee, National Sales Manager, Sanofi Genzyme, Malaysia

When did you become aware of Movember and did something specific happen that made you aware? If you are not aware of Movember, how aware are you of your health? 
I learned about Movember from the funny pictures of mustaches that people posted on Facebook.  

Do men discuss health problems or is that off limit? 
Of course, but certain topic or organs are taboo.

Movember is meant to encourage people to talk about cancer and men’s health; are you planning to spark the conversation with your friends and family to help raise awareness?
I always like to spark the conversation and share my humble knowledge because I am in the healthcare business.

What is prostate cancer? 
Prostate cancer is the fourth most common cancer worldwide after lung, female breast and bowel cancer.1 It only affects men as women do not have a prostate gland. An estimated 1.1 million men worldwide were diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2012, accounting for 15% of cancers diagnosed in men.2 The rates are highest in Australia, New Zealand, Northern America, and Western and Northern Europe, with an estimated 307,000 deaths in 2012.2  It is the second most common cancer in men worldwide and the number of cases is expected to almost double to 1.7 million by 2030, according to the Movember Foundation.

The prostate is a gland located immediately below the bladder in front of the bowels. It produces fluid that protects and enriches sperm. Prostate cancer occurs when there’s an uncontrolled proliferation of cells. Ignoring the body's signal to stop, malignant cells multiply to form tumors in organs and tissues. If left untreated, prostate cancer cells may eventually spread from the prostate and invade distant parts of the body, particularly the lymph nodes and bones, producing secondary tumors in a process known as metastasis. One of the most worrying aspects of the disease is that most prostate cancers develop without men experiencing any symptoms in the early stages.

Signs and Symptoms4
Not everyone experiences symptoms of prostate cancer. Many times, signs of prostate cancer are first detected by a doctor during a routine check-up. Some men, however, will experience changes in urinary or sexual function that might indicate the presence of prostate cancer. These symptoms include:

  • A need to urinate frequently, especially at night
  • Difficulty starting urination or holding back urine
  • Weak or interrupted flow of urine
  • Painful or burning urination
  • Difficulty in having an erection
  • Painful ejaculation
  • Blood in urine or semen
  • Frequent pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips, or upper thighs

What to do
If you have any concerns or are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important that you contact your doctor.

Join the global cause to raise awareness and support for those affected by this disease!

References

  1. International Agency for Research on Cancer, GLOBOCAN 2018 accessed via Global Cancer Observatory. Accessed November 2018.
  2. Ferlay J, Soerjomataram I, Ervik M, et al:GLOBOCAN 2012 v1.0, cancer incidence and mortality worldwide: IARC CancerBase no. 11. http://publications.iarc.fr/Databases/Iarc-Cancerbases/ Globocan-2012-Estimated-Cancer-Incidence-Mortality-And-Prevalence-Worldwide-In-2012-V1-0-2012 Accessed via Journal of Clinical Oncology. 
  3. https://fr.movember.com/en/about/cause 
  4. https://us.movember.com/mens-health/prostate-cancer#the-facts. Accessed November 2018.