‘Movember’ gathers momentum

One in six Canadian men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer sometime in their lifetime.

According to the Prostate Cancer Canada website, prostate cancer is the most common cancer affecting Canadian men and now Movember, a new awareness campaign which ran over the month of November, is literally changing the face of prostate cancer awareness.

Catherine Patterson of Prostate Cancer Canada cannot believe the outpouring of support generated from the month long awareness campaign.

“We didn’t think we could get this big, we hoped we could,” Patterson said.

Movember is the brainchild of a group of Australian men who, over a few beers back in 2003, wanted to resurrect the moustache. Realizing no one would grow a moustache unless it was for a good cause, Movember was born. Originally bringing great awareness for men’s depression issues in Australia, the campaign concept was pitched to Prostate Cancer Canada in 2007.

Movember 2007 attracted 2,000 participants and earned $545,000, a staggering amount for a charity that brings in an estimated $6-8 million annually. The following year, Movember attracted 33,000 participants and brought in close to $3 million. Amazed and thrilled with the success of campaign, Patterson believes the relaxed approach to awareness has been the key.

“It has brought a lightheartedness to a serious subject matter,” Patterson said. “This will get men more comfortable talking about prostate cancer.”

Movember has also launched smaller campaigns throughout November. As statistics indicate, men in their 20s and 30s are at greater risk.

Campaigns such as ‘Big Mo on Campus’ have brought attention to young men throughout North America in an effort to alleviate the embarrassment and initiate dialogue about prostate cancer.

New this year, Movember has launched their “Bay Street Challenge” encouraging businessmen to join in on the conversation by sporting their ‘stache’ around the office.

“We want to do what women have done for breast cancer awareness,” Patterson said. “Our goal is to make sure no one is uncomfortable talking about a serious health issue.”

Prostate Cancer Canada, with help from Movember, is hosting a gala event November 26th, at The Gurverment.

In an effort to maintain their light-hearted approach to raising awareness, participants are encouraged to dress in costume to ‘match their stache.’ To join the fight against prostate cancer, or to learn more about Movember, go to www.movember.com.