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Growing your Mo for Movember

While the hipster beard has been in fashion for a while, as November approaches we look forward to a wild and wonderful array of ‘taches' being grown throughout the land. But before you reach for the razor for that last shave, we take a look at what Movember really means and why it is so important to the plumbing and heating industry, an industry which is still 98% male after all.

Movember focuses on the often taboo subjects of prostrate cancer, testicular cancer and mental health. According to the Movember Foundation the state of men’s health is in crisis:

  • Men experience worse longer-term health than women and die on average six years earlier.
  • Prostate cancer rates will double in the next 15 years.
  • Testicular cancer rates have already doubled in the last 50 years.
  • Three quarters of suicides are men.
  • Poor mental health leads to half a million men taking their own life every year. That’s one every minute.

(Source: Movember Foundation)

So why is men’s health in such bad shape? We know that levels of workplace stress are rising – the construction industry is a particular offender here – and we know that women are more likely to go to a health professional if they are feeling the effects of ill health. Women are also more likely to talk through both physical and mental issues, which is in most cases the defining factor in getting help. It also seems that men are generally less aware of health issues and symptoms in the first place, or if they do notice them, more likely to brush symptoms under the carpet, especially if its an embarrassing issue.

Of course, not all symptoms are physical. Earlier this month we saw World Mental Health Day, a very timely reminder that mental health is every bit as important as physical health. A startling statistic shows that 1 in 8 men in the UK have experienced a mental health problem, including depression, stress, insomnia and anxiety.  Sadder still is the fact that such a disproportionate number of suicides are male.  It really is time we started talking openly about men’s health and breaking down the taboo.

So what can you do? The Movember Foundation has the following tips:

1. Stay connected to people - check in regularly with friends and family and make sure you make ‘man time’ to catch up with friends. 

2. Stay active – move more and do more of what makes you feel good.

3. Be open – talk about the big things you’d normally hide, be there to listen to others having a hard time too.

4. Know the numbers - At 50, talk to your doctor about prostate cancer and whether it’s right for you to have a PSA test. If you are black or have a father or brother with prostate cancer, you should be having this conversation at 45. 

5. Know your nuts – yup, it really does mean that. Know what’s normal for you, check for lumps and if anything changes, don’t ignore it, go to the doctor.

Find out more about Movember at