Movember: Men’s Health Issues and Pharmica’s Contribution
Learn how best to support the men in your life, and see how the team at Pharmica helped out.
Updated: Wednesday 13 April 2022
A massive thank you to those who supported men’s health awareness this November by donating 5% of their order value to the Movember charity! You’ve directly helped fund projects that support men all around the world with the challenges of testicular and prostate cancer, and have helped men who have lost a loved one from suicide or who have had suicidal thoughts.
Here at Pharmica we gave the “Grow a Mo” challenge a go, sporting some furry facial hair for November. Well done to everyone who participated in this year’s annual campaign by raising funds through rocking a moustache, moving for Movember, hosting a Mo-ment or Mo-ing your own way. But it’s important to remember that men suffer in silence all throughout the year, so don’t hesitate to reach out to a man in your life at any point, just to check in and show them you’re there.
What is Movember?
The Movember Foundation is a men’s health charity aimed at helping to stop men dying young. Founded in 2003 in Melbourne, Australia, Movember focuses on bringing awareness and funding projects in three core areas: mental health and suicide prevention, prostate cancer and testicular cancer. 
Although the charity is active all year round, November is the most important time of the year for fundraising and awareness, in which their highly popular Movember event takes place. Male participants promote the cause by growing a moustache during November, starting clean shaven on November 1st.
How is Pharmica Supporting Movember?
The men of Pharmica got together to grow (or at least attempt to grow!) moustaches to raise awareness for Movember.
Pharmica donated 5% of the value of any order made in November when using the MOVEMBER promo code at checkout. As a thank you for choosing to support Movember through Pharmica, we gave double loyalty points on these orders!
The Scale of the Issues
Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men in the UK, and the second most common cancer in men worldwide. The risk of developing prostate cancer increases with age, and men who are black or have a family history of prostate cancer are 2.5x more likely to develop it. 
Although testicular cancer isn’t very common, accounting for just 1% of male tumors, it is the number one cancer among men aged 15 to 39. With a survival rate of 95%, testicular cancer can usually be treated effectively if diagnosed early. 
Each year, 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem of some kind. Globally, 1 man commits suicide every minute, with males accounting for 75% of global suicides. 
What does Movember Help Fund?
The charity has helped fund more than 1,250 men’s health projects globally since their conception in 2003, raising in excess of $1 billion (USD). 
These projects include funding clinical research, managing support networks, and giving the most at risk men the tools they need to improve their mental and physical health.
Here are handful of ongoing projects that Movember is helping fund in the UK: 
Farmstrong - a scheme to support farmers and their families, encouraging happy and healthy rural communities.
IRONMAN - a registry of men with latter stage prostate cancer, measuring the clinical outcomes associated with managing the disease, and aiming to understand it’s biology and clinical diversity.
Go To Where Men Are - bringing awareness, education and support to men directly, such as engaging with young men through sport.
Institute of Cancer Research studies - Movember contributes to research conducted by Professor Clare Turnbull that’s proven significant in our understanding of the genetic risk of developing testicular cancer.
Men Building Better Relationships - the development of an e-learning tool helping men to improve the quality of their relationships, with the goal of supporting wellbeing and mental health outcomes.
Essential Men’s Health Checks
Talk to your doctor about a PSA test after you turn 50, or after 45 for black men or men with a family history of prostate cancer. The test is a simple routine blood test and can help catch prostate cancer early.
Look out for the following signs that may indicate the presence of prostate cancer, but be aware that not everyone experiences symptoms: 
- Needing to urinate frequently, especially at night
- Finding it difficult to start urinating or holding back urine
- Having a weak or interrupted flow of urine
- Experiencing a painful or burning sensation during urinating
- A painful ejaculation
- Blood in your semen or urine
- Having frequent pain or stiffness in your lower back, hips or upper thighs
62% of those most at risk of testicular cancer don’t know how to check themselves for signs. Checking your testicles for signs of cancer is simple, and should be done every month.
Look out for the following potential symptoms of testicular cancer: 
- Painless swelling or lump on one of the testicles
- Changes in shape or texture of the testicles
- An increase in firmness
- A difference in appearance between one testicle and the other
- A sharp pain or a dull ache in the testicles or scrotum, that may come and go
- A feeling of heaviness in the scrotum
Check out our blog How to Check for Testicular Cancer to learn how to perform your monthly checks correctly.
When you’re not feeling like your best self, you can sometimes get stuck in a rut. Here are some tips for improving your mental wellbeing: 
- Connect with other people - they can help you build a sense of belonging and self-worth, give an opportunity to share positive experiences, and provide emotional support and allow you to support others.
- Be physically active - exercise can raise your self-esteem, help you to set goals and achieve them, and cause chemical changes in your brain to positively affect your mood. Check out our article on the mental and physical benefits of outdoor exercise.
- Learn new skills - learning something new can help to improve your mental wellbeing by boosting your self-confidence, helping you to build a sense of purpose, and help you connect with others.
- Give to others - acts of giving and kindness can create positive feelings, a sense of reward and a sense of self-worth.
If your mental health is in a good place, you’re in a great position to check in on others in your circle that might not be doing so well.
We all have men in our lives that we care about, and some of them might be experiencing something challenging that they’re finding it hard to talk about. It’s great to check in with your friends, family and colleagues and offer support if needed, especially if they don’t quite seem themself. If someone you know seems withdrawn, stressed or is going through difficult changes such as employment uncertainty or a break up, why not check in on them.
Movember puts forwards the ALEC model to help navigate a conversation with someone who might be struggling: 
- A - Ask them how they’re feeling, and dig a little deeper if they say “I’m fine”
- L - Listen carefully, and show them you’re listening by giving them your full attention
- E - Encourage them to focus on simple, achievable things that could improve how they feel
- C - Check in with them after your chat
Movember has a fantastic tool for practicing having a conversation with a man in need. Give the Movember Conversations simulator a try and learn how to give better support.
How Can I Support Movember?
There are many ways you can get involved with the Movember movement to benefit the men’s health cause. Donations help Movember to fund projects in key areas and distribute promotional material to raise awareness. You can also raise money by asking people you know to sponsor your Movember moustache, do the Move for Movember run, or ‘Mo your own way’ by choosing your own way to raise funds. You can get Movember merchandise to support the cause and give the charity some exposure. If you’re a teacher or lecturer, sports coach, business leader or an emergency services worker, there are a host of fun Movember challenges you can do with your class or team.
- Movember Foundation, 2020. Our Story
- Movember Foundation, 2021. Prostate Cancer
- Movember Foundation, 2021. Nuts & Bolts: Testicular cancer facts
- McManus, S., Meltzer, H., Brugha, T. S., Bebbington, P. E., & Jenkins, R. (2009). Adult psychiatric morbidity in England, 2007: results of a household survey.
- NHS, 2021. Prostate Cancer Symptoms
- NHS, 2019. Testicular Cancer Symptoms
- NHS, 2019. 5 steps to mental wellbeing
- Movember Foundation, 2021. Conversations
- Movember Foundation, 2021. Our Financials
- Movember Foundation, 2021. The Work We Fund
Authored by Toby Watson
Pharmica Medical Writer
Toby (BSc) is an experienced medical writer, producing educational articles on many areas of health including sexual health, fitness, nutrition and mental health.
He particularly enjoys debunking misconceptions around heath conditions and their treatments, researching each topic in detail and writing easily-accessible content.