It’s Movember time again

19 November 2018 | Health

November is “Movember” month with the Cancer Association of Namibia (CAN) focusing on the most prevalent forms of cancer affecting Namibian men.

The Movember Movement is a men’s health initiative in support of the early detection of male forms of cancer, addressing more specifically prostate cancer and testicular cancer. The name is the combination of the words “Moustache and November”.

Originating in Australia, Namibia has been participating in the movement for the last decade.

It is an annual month-long event involving the growing of moustaches during the month of November.

“At the start of Movember guys register with a clean-shaven face. The Movember participants, known as Mo Bros, have the remainder of the month to grow and groom their Mo, raising money along the way to benefit men’s health especially prostate cancer,” explained Rolf Hansen, the CEO of CAN.

The 2017 “Grow a Mo - Save a Bro” campaign stressed the significance of self-examination in detecting testicular cancer. Similarly, DRE (Digital Rectal Examination) and PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) tests are two major exams for early detection of prostate cancer.

Early detection and endeavours to eliminate stigmas surrounding both types of cancer are done by encouraging men to grow a beard or moustache and challenge one another to have a medical check-up done. It further encourages men to share their health concerns with their peers.

Hansen emphasised that men’s health clinics will be hosted by CAN regularly on Tuesdays.

“Bookings must be made in advance by telephone, and the cost is N$70 per Namibian male (please bring ID). The clinic includes and education session, family history and personal history consultation, PSA screening (only a prick of the finger and blood taken), as a first step in cancer screening.”

The current interim data with the Namibia National Cancer Registry shows that skin cancer is the most occurring form of cancer among Namibian men. An average of 504 new cases per year (including Basal Cell and Squamous Cell carcinomas) were recorded during the period 2014, 2015 and 2016.

Prostate cancer also remains a concern at an average of 321 cases per year over the three-year period; and Kaposi Sarcoma averages 164 cases per year over the three-year period.

Being the most common type of cancer among young men (15 to 37 years), the majority of men are completely unaware of testicular cancer.

Worldwide, there are 48 500 new patients diagnosed with testicular cancer each year with 8 900 of these bound to die.

A total of 11 248 malignant neoplasms were recorded among the Namibian population during the period for 2010 to 2014 of which 5 125 were in males (45.6%) and 6 123 in females (54.4%).

Prostate cancer was the most diagnosed form of cancer accounting to 23,6% of cancers prevalent in Namibian men, closely followed by Kaposi Sarcoma at 18,4%

As for prostate cancer, it mainly occurs in older men. About 6 cases in 10 are diagnosed in men aged 65 or older, and it is rare before age 40. The average age at the time of diagnosis is about 66. Both types of cancer are curable if detected at the early stages.

The Cancer Association of Namibia can be contacted at 3C Ferdinand Stich Street in Swakopmund on 064 4621 27190 or at John Meinert Street in Windhoek West on 061 237 740.

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