When I was a medical student I was told on several occasions by different surgeons that ‘if I didn’t stick my finger in it (the rectum), I was bound to stick my foot in it’. I’ve always assumed (and hoped) that they were only speaking literally about the first part, although admittedly there are some odd doctors out there.
I mention this rather strange anecdote because November marks the beginning of Movember, a campaign promoting male health and more specifically awareness around Prostate Cancer. To show your support for the cause one should grow a moustache throughout the month. Naturally this movement has been taken on with much zeal by the same kind of men who think lifting weights and grunting loudly at gym is cool. In fact Movember is the kind of activity often done by groups of males who want to bow to peer pressure but feel that smoking or taking steroids is just too much effort.
Indeed most of the people who actively partake in the campaign, and even the Portuguese women who become involved by mistake, believe that they are doing good. After all Prostate Cancer is the most common cancer in South African men, it kills more than 2500 of us per year, and will affect 80% of men who reach the age of 80. Movember one could argue promotes an important aspect of health, and nails the message home because it is even endorsed by CANSA.
However there is a massive problem with this ingenious marketing concept despised by Gillete executives the world over. Besides the considerable funding raised for the various worthy organizations, the Movember campaign is a failure. This is because the best health advice any doctor could ever give you is that prevention is always better than cure. This is not just a saying but how all healthcare should be run and how every single human being should approach their health and well-being.
Instead of growing a moustache some marketing gurus should apply their minds to convincing billions of terrified men to go for a digital rectal exam. If this is too impossible a task, then even compelling men to make simple lifestyle changes which decrease their risk of developing Prostate and other Cancers would help. The truth is that cultivating facial hair will do absolutely nothing for your health, other than perhaps raising some money so that when you are dying of Cancer at least some caring NGO can sponsor the Morphine for your last few painful days, weeks or months on Earth.
Rather man up and take one for the gender team, then come home and tell your partner that regular ejaculation is proven to lower the risk of developing Prostate Cancer – you can thank me later.