You’ve probably heard of the annual moustache-growing that’s currently going on – and if you’re someone who is into kissing men, you may have even felt it in previous years as well. The Movember Foundation are all about doing quirky things to raise money for three main areas of what they consider to be ‘men’s health’ (more on this later). Famous Mos (supporters) include astronaut Chris Hadfield, Mark Cavendish and Jack Savoretti, so you know you’re in good company.

The Why

The Movember Foundation wants to stop men from dying too early, so they’re tackling the three leading causes of death in men.

The What

Prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and mental health issues relating to suicide prevention.

The focus here is on parts of the body that typically exist with a penis, in those who were assigned male at birth. However, not all men have testes and a prostate, and not everyone with testes and a prostate is a man. Cancer prevention, screening and treatment apply to those who have those parts, so pick and choose which advice applies to you. The language of Movember targets cis men – we recognise that these issues don’t apply to all or only men.

A Little About Prostate Cancer

The prostate is a part of the reproductive system that generally exists with a penis and testicles. Later this month, we’ll have a focus on the typical reproductive anatomy of those who possess prostates. The most important thing here is that the prostate creates seminal fluid for sperm to swim in after ejaculation – it has nutrients and also conceals following ejaculation to give the sperm the best chance of making it to that egg. It’s a part that’s inside the body, but you can feel it through the anus, if you know where you’re looking. And if you ask some people with prostates who have anal sex, they may be able to tell you exactly where to look.

You’re more at risk of prostate cancer if you’re older. People with prostates who are over 50 can ask their doctor for a blood test for a Prostate Specific Antigen, which may suggest there’s a problem with their prostate. If you’re black or you have a family history of prostate cancer, then you can ask for the test at 45 instead.

The main symptom is a frequent need to urinate, particularly at night – if the prostate is enlarged then it can affect the bladder and make you feel like you need to ‘go’ more often. Other symptoms are pain while urinating, pain while ejaculating and erectile dysfunction. If you’re concerned, see your GP.

If detected early, prostate cancer has a 98% chance of survival beyond 5 years. If it’s not caught early, this drops to 26%. Don’t let your embarrassment get in the way, Mos!

A Little About Testicular Cancer

The testicles or testes are the really important bits of the reproductive system that are outside of the body – I am going to take a quick moment to thank my ovaries for being internal. They need a lower than body temperature environment, so they typically hang in a sack below the penis. This is where the little swimmers are created, primed to make a baby, and they join up with the earlier mentioned seminal fluid to go off into the big bad world (hopefully the vagina) to do their job.

Testicular cancer is more common in younger people than older people. Similar to how breasted people are always told to feel those for lumps (and I’m always here to remind you to do that!), younger people with testicles should be familiar with the way that their testicles feel and regularly check for any odd lumps, hard spots or any differences that you didn’t notice before. If you have both balls and boobs, check them both!

Testicular cancer can often be cured if spotted soon enough, in case you needed another reason to touch yourself! Chemotherapy, radiotherapy and removal of the affected testicle are often treatments for testicular cancer – but in a lot of cases these won’t affect fertility!

A Little About Men’s Mental Health and Suicide Rates

(Trigger warning for mental health and suicide the rest of this article!)

I’m sure we’re all sick of the discussion around the term ‘man up’, and of the expectation for men to bottle up their feelings while women let them pour like the wine they’re drinking when they get together with their mates. But the cliché comes from somewhere, reality – this is the message that men are getting. The Sentient Ham and his ilk don’t really help with this situation.

Men have higher rates of completed suicides than women do.

Men are less likely to access health services about their mental health than women are.

Whether you’re a man, a woman or you don’t fit into one of those two categories – looking after your mental health is important. You should see your GP if you are concerned, and if you feel an immediate and serious urge to hurt yourself or end your life, seek medical attention immediately – call for an ambulance if you are able to.

Movember is On

Throughout Movember, and for International Men’s Day on November 19th, the Nopebook will be looking at men’s health. This will include the latest in our Know Your Body series, as mentioned above, featuring details about the anatomy typically existing together with a prostate, testicles and a penis; as well as men’s mental health. Watch this space, and email us at health@thenopebook.com if you feel you can share something important this Movember.

Alright Mos. We’ll see you at the finish line.

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