As we embark on the month of November, we look around and see a barrage of moustaches; some quite appealing, some barely there and others reminiscent of Captain Hook. The legendary Movember gently surrounds us, and we can’t help but imagine if more moustaches are clandestine under the many masks. This moustache trend was initiated by the Movember charity, a global supporter of men’s health, particularly prostate and testicular cancer. This charity does shed light on the important fact that cancer is more prevalent in males than females and unfortunately men aren't as consistent with check ups/physician appointments. Hence Movember is a nice little reminder that it’s important to expand awareness on mens cancers; promote regular physician check ups and recognize that men’s cancers extend beyond just below the belt! In fact, men get breast cancer to! Prostate Cancer is indeed the most prevalent of cancers in men, however in 2018 next to prostate, lung/bronchus cancer was the most prevalent and second to this was colorectal (2). Ironically, November is also deemed lung cancer month through the canandian cancer society (5). To best commemorate the catchy movement of Movember, let us reflect on this month as a time to build awareness for all men’s cancers, varying from lung, bone, brain and yes even breast. Let us take this month to share thoughts on and recognize all of the less popular cancers, or less ‘Hollywood’ cancers as one patient put it. Let Movember be a time to recognize all men’s cancers whether common or uncommon and show our support. On a supportive and positive note, we’ve made some amazing advances over the last decade in regard to cancers within the male population. The cancer community has made great strides in detection technologies, specificity of diagnosis and treatment regimes, over all reducing the burden of the disease on patients individually. This progress is reflected as trends in mortality rates have decreased by about 35% in males since they peaked in 1988 (2). As a country we can even more celebrate as the most recent International Cancer Benchmarking Partnership Study confirmed that Canada’s cancer survival rate actually ranks among the highest in the world (1). My bias as a physiotherapist is evident; most exciting is in the field of cancer rehabilitation, science has shown us that people with cancer do indeed have some control over the disease as exercise is indeed medicine (4). The journey is no longer only about the treatment regime but also about the benefits of maintaining physical capacity. Through exercise adherence and an individualized cancer rehab plan, many cancer related symptoms can be better managed (3,4). In addition, studies have shown positive impacts on mental well-being, function and survivorship. Each cancer journey involves its own unique presentation and specific limiting symptoms, validating the need for an individualized rehab plan. All men with cancer should ask their oncologists and physicians for rehabilitative resources in their communities to assure they can best manage their symptoms and follow exercise as medicine. Here at InReach we offer cancer rehabilitation tele-health so people with cancer can get started from anywhere without barriers to access. In closing, let us admire the array of moustaches we see, better yet those we can daringly imagine unmasked and honour this great month this is Movember, supporting all men’s cancers and the great progress ahead!
Feel free to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org for any simple cancer rehab inquiries.
Access more cancer telerehabilitation resources at www.thecancerphysio.com
References: 1) International Agency for Research on Cancer. International Rules for Multiple Primary Cancers (ICD-O Third Edition) [Internet] Lyon, FR: International Agency for Research on Cancer; 2004.
2) “Canadian Cancer Statistics 2019 Government of Canada,” 2019.
3) “Cancer Prevention and Early Detection Facts and Figures 2019-2020 American Cancer Society.” American Cancer Society, 2019. http://www.cancer.org/. 4) Schmitz, Kathryn H., Anna M. Campbell, Martijn M. Stuiver, Bernardine M. Pinto, Anna L. Schwartz, G. Stephen Morris, Jennifer A. Ligibel, et al. “Exercise Is Medicine in Oncology: Engaging Clinicians to Help Patients Move through Cancer.” CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians 69, no. 6 (2019): 468–84. https://doi.org/10.3322/caac.21579.