'Movember' moustache health fundraiser gets underway
1st November 2013 - British men keen to sport a moustache for a month are under starter's orders as an annual fundraiser supporting men's health gets underway.
This month's 'Movember' campaign encourages men to grow a 'Mo' - short for moustache - to raise awareness and funds mainly for prostate and testicular cancer.
Last year in the UK 363,000 moustache growing men, known as Mo Bros, raised over £26.9 million.
Funding cancer research
Most of the money raised in the UK this year will once again go to the charities Prostate Cancer UK and the Institute of Cancer Research.
In the UK 1 in 8 men will get prostate cancer at some stage in their lives, making prostate cancer rates comparable to those for breast cancer in women. More than 10,000 men will die of the disease this year in the UK.
Figures for 2009 show that 2,209 men in the UK were diagnosed with testicular cancer.
This year, for the first time in the UK, Movember will aim to raise awareness about men's mental health issues to bring the campaign into line with those run in other parts of the world. In future years mental health charities may benefit from some of the money raised.
Centre of excellence
The partnership between Movember and Prostate Cancer UK aims to raise £25 million over the next 3 years to help identify men at the highest risk of getting aggressive prostate cancer, develop better tests to tell aggressive from non-aggressive cancer, and find new targeted treatments for advanced prostate cancer.
Central to this aim is funding for the Movember Centre of Excellence which will bring together expert researchers and clinicians to provide a world-class training ground for the scientists of the future, building a legacy of top UK prostate cancer researchers.
Bids to run the Centre are currently being considered from UK universities and NHS hospital trusts, with an announcement on the winning candidate expected before the end of the year.
Sarah Coghlan, who manages Movember fundraising in the UK, says that the money is not only for research. "In prostate cancer we fund both research and what we call 'living with and beyond cancer'," she tells us, "so a large portion of our funds here in the UK go towards supporting things like the prostate cancer nurse helpline that men and their families can call throughout their prostate cancer journey".
A new project to be funded this year is aimed at bringing cancer care to men living in remote areas of the countryside. "We're just about to announce a 'man van' which will be unique to Wales - being trialled in Wales - which will be prostate cancer and testicular cancer specific and will take care of men that otherwise would have to travel quite long distances into cities across Wales," says Sarah Coghlan.
Money raised for the Institute of Cancer Research helps fund research led by Dr Clare Turnbull which is trying to identify new genetic causes of testicular cancer within families aimed at improving diagnosis and management for patients and their families.