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Movember: An opportunity for employers to raise awareness about men’s health

Movember: An opportunity for employers to raise awareness about men’s health

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Movember: An opportunity for employers to raise awareness about men’s health

As we progress towards November, the annual event of ‘Movember’ grows ever closer.

But what is Movember, and why is it important?

For those who may not be familiar, Movember involves growing a moustache during the month of November to raise awareness and/or run fundraising campaigns in support of men’s health issues, notably prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and men’s mental health. While there can be (!) a comical element to some of the moustaches seen, the reasons behind it are ever more necessary. Movember offers a great opportunity for employers to get involved in raising awareness about men’s health and signposting employees towards support.

According to Prostate Cancer U.K., 1 in 8 men will get prostate cancer, and every 45 minutes one man dies from prostate cancer – that’s more than 12,000 men every year.[1] And although it’s not always life-threatening, when it is, the earlier you catch it the more likely it is to be cured. This is where raising awareness is crucial. A survey by OnePoll, on behalf of GenesisCare and Prostate Cancer Research, undertaken in 2021 found 78% of respondents are unaware of all of the physical symptoms that could indicate an issue, and more than one in four men (28%) admit they are not comfortable asking medical professionals questions or discussing symptoms (27%).[2]

Testicular cancer accounts for less than 1% of all new cancer cases in the U.K., with around 2,400 new cases every year. It’s more treatable than many other cancers, with a 91% survival rate – but this is also dependent on timely detection and treatment. The mortality rate has decreased by 84% since the 1970s, thanks to progressions in screenings and treatment.[3]

Movember and men’s wellbeing

Being diagnosed and living with cancer often changes the way people think and feel about life. It can be hard to deal with emotionally as well as physically, but taboos around seeking support, and not knowing where support could be available from, often means that its emotional ramifications are not addressed.

Broader men’s health issues can also benefit from the Movember campaign. It’s well reported that men are at greater risk of suicide than women. While suicide rates vary across the U.K., men have accounted for more deaths by suicide than women in each nation. In fact, the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) state that men represent three-quarters of all U.K. suicides.[4] A belief that emotional problems cannot be discussed, and not knowing how or where to seek help, are tragic contributing factors to this.

How employers can help

Education and awareness are key in helping men and those around them recognise physical and emotional symptoms, and feel comfortable addressing them. Employers are in a unique position to help their employees understand signs and symptoms, and create a support framework.  For example, you could look to do this through:

  • Establishing wellbeing champions, who can signpost employees to wellbeing support and health resources
  • Providing healthcare access through private medical insurance; this can range from a digital GP service which can then facilitate referrals, or coverage that offers more efficient screenings and treatment
  • Offering support through such tools as an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP), to enable employees to talk about their concerns
  • Running a campaign about Movember’s causes, which may include resources to assist employees in identifying physical and mental symptoms; this could also involve running a Movember fundraiser for employees

On top of providing access to relevant resources, it’s crucial to drive engagement through effective communications, both providing an opportunity to talk about these subjects and alerting employees to the tools and resources available to them. Movember is about so much more than just growing a moustache. Creating an environment where it’s okay to talk can save lives. That’s a campaign worth getting on board with.


[1] https://prostatecanceruk.org/

[2] https://www.genesiscare.com/uk/news/men-put-off-seeking-prostate-medical-advice-resulting-in-health-anxiety-and-delayed-diagnosis

[3] https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/health-professional/cancer-statistics/statistics-by-cancer-type/testicular-cancer#heading-One

[4] https://uk.movember.com/about/mental-health