Movember PI is the Philippines’ version of a moustache growing charity event held during November each year to raise funds and awareness for a good cause. Movember is a portmanteau of the words ‘moustache’ and ‘November‘.
At the start of November guys register with a clean shaven face. The participants, known locally as Mo Barkadas, have the remainder of the month to grow and groom their Mo, raising money along the way to benefit men’s health – specifically prostate cancer or some local charity.
“Seven Nightly News” aired a story in 1999 featuring a group of young men in Adelaide who claimed to have had come up with idea of growing moustaches for charity in what “snowballed into a Mo-phenomenon, with people across Australia joining up”.
In the news report, members of the Adelaide-based “Movember Committee” explained how they came up with the idea for Movember one night in the pub. The group was said to have 80 men from Adelaide and interstate involved in the event, and aimed to raise money for the RSPCA through selling T-shirts in what they termed “Growing whiskers for whiskers”.
Movember Charity Events
- Since 2004, the Movember Foundation charity has used Movember to raise awareness and funds for men’s health issues in both Australia and New Zealand. Monetary proceeds go towards Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia, Cancer Society and Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand and Beyond Blue.
- In 2007, the Foundation launched events in Canada (funds raised to the Prostate Cancer Research Foundation of Canada), Spain (FEFOC), The United Kingdom (The Prostate Cancer Charity), and The United States (Prostate Cancer Foundation).
- In 2008, the Movember Foundation started the event in the Republic of Ireland. The beneficiary in ROI would be Action Prostate Cancer, an initiative of the Irish Cancer Society.
- A non-Foundation Movember event has been held in the Cayman Islands by a “MOvember Committee” since 2006. The event has been sponsored by CML Offshore Recruitment and raises funds for the Cayman Islands Cancer Society.
- The original Movember Committee does not hold any official fundraising events, but still encourages people to participate in Movember activities and to donate their raised funds to any charity participants feel worthwhile.
- In 2009, many of the Australian rugby union team players were seen sporting moustaches during the Autumn Test Series.
What is a Prostate?
The Prostate is a gland in men that is shaped like a walnut, roughly about an inch and a half in diameter, located underneath the urinary bladder and in the area behind the pubic bone and the base of the penis. The male hormone, testosterone, produced by the testes along with sperm, stimulates the prostate to secrete part of the semen (whitish, thick, cloudy fluid) in which the spermatozoa (sperm) wiggles and travels.
Does cancer of the prostate cause symptoms?
Cancer of the prostate does not cause symptoms early because the malignant tumor usually develops in the outer portion of the prostate, and therefore does not cause blockage of the urethra. Even without symptoms, this form of early stage of the cancer may be detected during a medical examination. This is the reason why a regular checkup, including a digital (finger) rectal prostate examination (once or twice a year) is very important among men who are 40 years and older, even those without symptoms, to catch prostate cancer before it spreads. Blood (serum) PSA level is also an important test for prostate cancer. When symptoms occur, the cancer may already be advanced.
What is a PSA Test?
PSA stands for Prostate-Specific Antigen, which is done by radioimmunoassay methods, and is the most sensitive marker for monitoring progression of prostate cancer and response to therapy. Its precise role in early detection is still being evaluated. PSA is elevated in 25 to 92 percent of those with cancer of the prostate and 30 to 50 percent of those with benign prostatic hyperplasia. Trans-rectal ultrasound (TRUS) could provide a preliminary diagnosis by means of sound waves, and confirmed by guided-needle biopsy of the prostate for a more definitive histologic tissue diagnosis. The other routine initial tests include urinalysis and blood tests, urine flow test, IVP (intravenous pyelogram) kidney X-rays and cystoscopy (“telecopic” examination of the urethra and the bladder, done through the penis). Together with PSA test, DRE (Digital Rectal Exam) is very important, both of which are recommended for men 50 and above, or at 45, for those with a strong family history of prostatic cancer.
How is Cancer of the Prostate managed?
There is no one single formula for the treatment of cancer. Localized cancer of the prostate gland may be CURED by Radical RetroPubic Prostatectomy (RRPP), with an incision done in the lower abdomen, about 4 inches above the front base of the penis. However, if there is extensive local spread, if the patient is too old or in poor health, or if there is already metastasis (distant spread of the cancer, usually to the bones), RRPP is not the preferred modality. In these cases, hormone control therapy, irradiation (IMRT, the latest X-Ray treatment), or bilateral orchiectomy (removal of both testicles) may provide palliation (improvement but not a cure). Radiation for control of pains due to spread of the cancer to the bones may provide relief. Chemotherapy after failure of hormone treatment has been found to be ineffective.
What is the prognosis of these patients?
The 10-year cure rates among patients with localized (with no spread) cancer of the prostate treated by radical prostatecomy or radiation therapy is about 65%. In other words, ten years after the treatment, 65 out of a hundred are still alive and well. Those patients who are not candidates for the radical prostate surgery or for irradiation may respond for several years to adequate hormonal control and/or orchiectomy. The prognosis among those with metastases is obviously worse but treatment may provide a long-term palliation.
Prostate Cancer in the Philippines
Prostate cancer is now one of the leading causes of death among Filipino males. Statistics show that about 25% of men afflicted with prostate cancer die of the disease. Patients who survive the cancer still require treatment to ease symptoms such as pain, bleeding, and urinary obstruction.
The American Cancer Society and the American Urological Association recommend that the men over forty (40) years or older undergo periodic testing for the early detection of prostate cancer. Early detection will prevent future disease progression. Also, treatment in the early stages of cancer is less than when done in its advanced stages.
Dr. Philip S. Chua