As I am writing this article I am counting the days till the first of December. I am so looking forward to getting my upper lip back from the horrible, hairy caterpillar that has been slowly growing there since the start of November. My 4 year old son, Owen, can’t wait till I shave my new moustache off. Every time I get a chance, I use my prickly upper lip to win our regular wrestling matches. “No fair” he cries, “too prickly!” My gorgeous daughter, Sarah remarked the other day that my moustache made me look much older. “Dad,” she said, “I don’t think you should keep your mo. It makes you look REALLY old; you look about 27!” Now considering I just turned 38 her comment almost made me consider keeping the mo. But, no, the final say, as always, comes down to my wife. I don’t even ask her anymore what she thinks of my mo. Every November it’s the same; gradually I get less and less kisses as the month progresses, and then more and more hints that facial hair doesn’t quite suit me. “But,” I say to her, “everyone at Physique thinks it suits me.” “Neil,” she replies, “they are just being nice. It really doesn’t quite work for you.”
So why do I do it? Why every November do I put myself through the displeasure of trying to grow a moustache? Well, that’s easy. You see, my Granddad died of prostate cancer, my uncle nearly lost his life at age 40 to prostate cancer and my male cousin committed suicide at the age of 30.
Movember, as it is called, is about raising much needed funds for the Prostate Cancer Research Fund and for Beyond Blue, an organisation aimed at combating the ever increasing impact of poor mental health on our society and on young men in particular. But it is also about more than that. It is about developing a culture where men take their health seriously, where men ask for help and where men get the correct treatment before it is too late. Consider this: one-third of all men have not seen a doctor in the past year and 10% of us have not seen one for five years.
I regularly see the fact that men find it hard to get treatment for themselves. Quite often we are treating injuries sustained a long time ago and then put up with for an extended period of time. The longer you leave an injury, the longer it takes to correct the problem. In contrast, if we start treatment quite soon after a problem arises, physiotherapy is more likely to you get back functioning fully and pain free quickly.
As you read this article I will have already gleefully shaven. However, the message will still remain: Please, guys, please get regular health checks. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and make sure you get the treatment that you so often need, but so rarely make the time for.