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What is Movember: Shedding Light on Men’s Health Issues

November is now synonymous with ‘Movember’ – an annual campaign that raises awareness and funds for various men’s health issues. Men worldwide are encouraged to grow out a moustache (their ‘mo’) as part of the awareness-raising, hence the name Movember.

What is Movember?

Movember is an annual event during the month of November where men grow moustaches to raise awareness and funds for men's health issues. During this month, men and boys are encouraged to learn and talk more about preventable health problems and to break the stigma of seeking professional medical support when needed. Understanding the importance of annual health checks with your doctor to detect early signs of diseases and cancers – including prostate, testicular, and colorectal – is an important part of men feeling more empowered and knowledgeable about their health and well-being. Additionally, due to the lack of discussion, men’s health, particularly men’s mental health, may not be well understood by the general public.

The different dimensions of men’s health include:

Mental Health and Suicide Prevention

Mental illness and well-being have been stigmatized topics, but there is nothing wrong with talking about our emotional and mental status.

DID you know

Compared to women, men are less likely to:

  • Eat fruits and vegetables (aka have a “colourful” diet)
  • Seek mental health support
  • Go for routine check-ups with the doctor
  • Live as long (according to 2021 data, men have an average life expectancy of 83.2 years compared to women's 87.9 years)

The World Health Organization states that nearly half the world’s population may be affected by some type of mental illness[2]. An estimated 6 million men suffer from depressive disorders, including suicidal ideation[3]. Although mental illness is common, mental disorders are underdiagnosed, partly due to the social stigma in discussing and understanding this shared human condition. When men are generally held to a standard of needing to “man up” through life’s problems, we can see why it may be difficult for men to feel comfortable talking about and learning more about their mental health.

Mental illness is more than having a one-off day – chronic, poor mental health can negatively impact a person’s overall well-being, even shortening one’s lifespan by an estimated 10-25 years for those with severe mental disorders[4]. Suicide is one of these causes of early death. Destigmatizing the topic of mental health within our social circles is more than making it a trendy topic for small talk with friends: it can save lives.

Remember: it’s okay not to be okay. Contact your doctor to discuss options for improving your mental health and resilience.


Common cancers that men may live with include prostate, testicular, lung, skin, and colorectal. Worldwide, the top three types of cancer among men are lung, prostate, and colorectal and contribute to nearly 45% of all cancers[5].

Lung cancer is the most preventable of all cancers, with 90% of diagnoses found in smokers. Kicking the tobacco habit can significantly reduce the risk of developing lung cancer.

Globally, more than 1.4 million men are diagnosed with prostate cancer annually. Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer, and the exact causes are unknown. However, several factors, including age, family history, and diet, may be potential contributors. Prostate cancer can progress slowly over time and symptoms typically do not manifest until the prostate becomes large enough to pressure surrounding organs, thus affecting urination patterns. But not everyone may experience symptoms of prostate cancer.

Early detection is crucial in preventing the spread of cancerous cells in the body. Talk to your doctor about your family history’s of cancer and discuss when to start screenings for particular cancers, including prostate cancer.

Alcoholism in Men

Alcoholism is a pervasive issue that significantly impacts men's health, often in underrecognised ways. Alcoholism in Hong Kong is especially prevalent, given the high-stress environment of Hong Kong. According to the Population Health Survey 2020-22, males (14.1%) frequently engaged in alcohol consumption, more than females (4%)[6]. The implications of alcohol abuse resonate heavily on individual, familial, and societal levels. Men are more likely to engage in hazardous drinking behaviors, which not only pose immediate health risks but also contribute to long-term complications.

Mental Health Implications

Chronic alcohol abuse can lead to or exacerbate mental health issues like depression and anxiety. This often begins when individuals use alcohol to alleviate symptoms, which in turn worsens the underlying mental health conditions due to altered brain chemistry.

Cancer Risks

Alcohol consumption is associated with an increased risk of several types of cancer, with the risk rising with the amount of alcohol consumed. This links alcoholism to cancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, colon, and rectum.

Prevention and Management

Early identification and intervention in cases of alcohol abuse can prevent or mitigate many of the associated health risks. Engaging in programs aimed at reducing alcohol consumption can significantly improve both mental and physical health. Regular health screenings can help in the early detection of any alcohol-related health issues, enabling early intervention and better management.

Physical Health

Healthcare professionals talk a lot about the importance of exercise and a well-balanced diet, and these healthy habits shouldn’t be underestimated.

Regular exercise and mobility are important for all people. According to the World Health Organization’s Global Health Estimates, 7 of the top 10 leading causes of death globally are preventable diseases[1], including heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise and a nutritious diet can help to minimize the risk of developing preventable diseases or conditions.

And what do we mean by “regular exercise?” A good rule of thumb is to aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise, combined with weight training sessions every week. Aerobic exercises include walking, running, swimming, or other sports. There is no one way to engage in regular exercise, and the key is to find and stick with whatever you enjoy.

To maintain a healthy diet, reduce the amount of processed or packaged foods which typically are high in salts, sugars, additives, and unhealthy fats. Instead, substitute with fresh fruits and vegetables, lean cuts of meat and poultry if you consume meat, fish, fiber-rich foods, and whole-grain products like brown rice or whole-grain bread.

Talk to your doctor for tailored recommendations on exercise and diet changes before making any drastic lifestyle changes. Discussing a lifestyle modification plan with your doctor ensures that it is a good fit for your body and health needs.



Book appointment

Book a medical examination in November and OT&P will donate $150 for every medical to the Movember Foundation, helping create awareness for projects relating to men's health.




1. World Health Organization. (n.d.). The top 10 causes of death. World Health Organization. Retrieved November 3, 2021, from

2. World Health Organization. (n.d.). Gender and women's mental health. World Health Organization. Retrieved November 3, 2021, from

3. American Psychological Association. (n.d.). Men: A Different Depression. American Psychological Association. Retrieved November 3, 2021, from

4. World Health Organization. (n.d.). Information sheet Premature death among people with severe mental disorders. World Health Organization. Retrieved November 3, 2021, from

5. Cancer Facts for Men. American Cancer Society. (n.d.). Retrieved November 3, 2021, from

6. Situation in Hong Kong Population Health Survey 2020-22: Alcohol Consumption. Centre for Health Protection. (n.d.). Retrieved October 18, 2023, from

Topics: Health & Wellness

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