DUBAI: It is that time of the year when men ditch their razors for a good cause. The month of November or Movember is an annual initiative where men cultivate hair on their upper lip an attempt to address some of the biggest health issues facing men: prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental illness and suicide prevention.

Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer among men. Around 1.3 million new cases have been found worldwide this year alone. One out of six men have prostate cancer and 43 lose their battle to it every hour. Closer home the numbers may not be as startling, but they are big enough to raise awareness on the need for timely checks.

Dr Fariborz Bagheri, head of Urology Department at Dubai Hospital said they see five new case of prostate cancer every month.

Raising the awareness

“Men aged above 50 must get themselves screened for prostate cancer while those with family history should screen when they turn 40. We recommend a blood test to check for prostate specific antigen (PSA) and a digital rectal examination. Based on the age of the patient, the size and volume of the prostate, the urologist will decide on the course of the treatment. Conventionally, a PSA below 3 nanogram per millilitre (ng/ml) is considered normal.”

He said people with advanced stage of cancer can have symptoms like severe pain in the bones, passing blood in the urine or prostate gland enlargement.

Dr Ahmad Al Tunji, specialist urologist, Emirates Hospital Day Surgery & Medical Centre, said men do not get themselves screened because of fear and dread of discomfort.

“I had a 50-year-old patient whose cancer was detected in the advanced stage. The sad part is that he knew he had a mass growing in his prostate gland for six months and yet did nothing about it. People have to learn to confront their fears and deal with their health issues. The more you delay taking a test, the worse your condition can get.”

Movember men:

Amit Asudani, 32, Indian

“Cancer can happen to any one. Every year I donate money to a foundation as I think much needs to be done to raise awareness on prostate and testicular cancer. Men also hesitate to talk about issues like depression but it is becoming an issue.”

Joe Nassar, 31, Lebanese

“My grand-father died of prostate cancer four years ago and ever since I have been participating in the month-long event. His cancer was detected in the advanced stage and I want to raise awareness on the importance of early detection and regular medical checks.”

Milap Nagarsheth, 34, Indian

Milap has grown a yeard and his full beard completes his look for the month-long campaign. “There is so much awareness that goes on in October for breast cancer, I just thought we need to give more stress on men’s health issues.”

Syed Tahir Hafeez, 29

He is sporting a hipster look for the campaign this year. “I initially started sporting different styles of tash and beard simply because it looked cool. But when I realised there was a noble cause attached to it, I decided to do it regularly.”

Khawaja Shahrukh 
Hussain, 26, Pakistan

“Every year I participate in the campaign as it’s for a noble cause. This year I am sporting a handle bar and a full beard to show my support for men’s health.”