Blue November: get to know the campaign and why it matters

The Blue November 2020 campaign brings a warning to the high rates of prostate cancer . On average, 42 men die each day from the disease and about 3 million live with it.

Every year, the campaign has taken information on diagnosis, treatment and necessary care in the face of this scenario.

Thus, the idea is to continue the work and projects of prevention, awareness and information about the disease.

What is Blue November?

Blue November is the name of the international movement that seeks to raise awareness about prostate cancer and male health. The campaign, known worldwide as Movember , aims to alert men of the importance of early diagnosis.

How did Blue November come about?

The campaign started in 2003, in Australia, when some friends had the idea of ​​leaving the mustache – which, at the time, was out of fashion – growing with the objective of calling attention to male health.

Earlier, a group of 30 men accepted the proposal, and so did the Movember Foundation, a nonprofit organization that seeks to raise funds for research and aid the treatment of cancer prostate and other diseases that affect men often.

As the years went by, the campaign won more and more fans, until it became worldwide. Today, it is made in more than 20 countries.

During the month of November, men are encouraged to grow their mustaches and women to participate in the campaign wearing the color blue, chosen to represent the action. That is why the name “Novembro Azul” in Brazil.

What does the campaign name mean?

Speaking in name, Movember came from the junction of the English word mustache (mustache) with november ( November). Currently, there are also those who refer to the campaign as No Shave November .

It is also worth remembering that the month was chosen because of the World Day to Combat Prostate Cancer, celebrated on November 17.

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Since its inception in 2003, more than $ 580 million has been raised, used to finance more than 770 projects and research in the area of ​​men’s health.

Blue November in Brazil

In Brazil, the campaign was launched in 2008 by the Lado a Lado pela Vida Institute, together with the Brazilian Society of Urology (SBU).

Among the actions promoted during the month, there is the offer of free or discounted prostate exams, in addition to the promotion of actions that bring information to people and professionals.

The initiatives always carry the symbols of Movember: the mustache and the color blue , reinforcing the importance of the campaign.

It is also common to see buildings and monuments being lit in blue in November, similar to what happens in October with the October Pink campaign.

Blue November Objectives

In addition to raising awareness about the early diagnosis of prostate cancer and other common diseases in men, the November Blue also came with the idea of ​​breaking the prejudice that many men have in relation to the touch exam.

The test, which involves palpation of the prostate by the rectum (the final portion of the large intestine), is the target of many jokes among men, who usually make an allusion to anal sex.

Due to the stereotypes of society, many think that they should never have their anus touched and much less penetrated, even if for good reason.

Thus, the November Blue campaign comes precisely to break this prejudice and show that sharing information and raising the issue are necessary measures.

Blue November and the Ministry of Health

Although Movember, or Blue November, is well accepted in several countries, the Ministry of Health has some reservations about the campaign.

Although, during the month, there is a lot of incentive to carry out preventive exams for prostate cancer, namely the touch exam and the PSA or specific prostate antigen (blood test).

Many doctors recommend that these tests be done at least once a year for men over 45 years of age. Initially, this is a good thing.

The problem, according to the Ministry of Health, is that all this prevention leads to many false-positive results, unnecessary biopsies, overdiagnosis and overtreatment .

This means that, often, tumors that would not develop, are diagnosed and treated as if they were a malignant condition, making the patient suffer unnecessarily.

However, the authorities still support the idea of ​​an initiative to make men aware of the need to pay attention to their health, as, in general, the male public tends to pay less attention to routine examinations and medical appointments than women. women.

In addition, it is common for them to only visit a doctor when they are having symptoms, forgetting or ignoring that medical appointments and examinations should serve as preventive measures as well.

To support this, a study by the Brazilian Society of Urology found that 51% of men never consulted a urologist, who is the specialist in the male urinary and reproductive system.

What is prostate cancer?

Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer in men. The prostate is a gland located below the bladder, in front of the rectum. It produces up to 70% of the semen, being indispensable for fertility.

In the world, this is the sixth most common type of cancer and the second most deadly among men. It is estimated that 1 in 6 men will suffer from the problem. A case is diagnosed every 7.6 minutes and a death from prostate cancer occurs every 40 minutes.

Most cases occur in men over 65 years of age, so preventive exams should be started around the age of 45, especially when there are risk factors such as being black, having obesity and having a family history of prostate cancer.

However, a large part of the tumors grow so slowly that it takes about 15 years to reach 1 cm³. Thus, many men do not even have signs of the disease during their lifetime.

It is worth remembering that, in the early stages, prostate cancer does not cause symptoms, causing approximately 95% of prostate cancer cases to be at a very advanced stage when their first signs appear.

Symptoms include:

  • Urgent and sudden urge to urinate;
  • Difficulty and pain when urinating;
  • Decreased urine flow;
  • Have the urge to urinate more often;
  • Feeling that the bladder has not completely emptied when urinating;
  • Difficulty starting and stopping the passage of urine;
  • Urine in drops or successive jets;
  • Need to exert force to maintain the stream of urine;
  • Pain in the lower back (low back pain) or in the pelvis (below the testicles);
  • Erectile dysfunction;
  • Pain when ejaculating;
  • Blood in the urine or sperm;
  • Severe bodily and bone pain;
  • Testicular pain;
  • Bleeding from the urethra;
  • Renal insufficiency.

The symptoms are so related to urine because the urethra (the channel that eliminates fluid) passes through the prostate.

As the causes of cancer are, in general, multifactorial, prevention is done with a balanced diet, practice of physical activities, weight control, reduction of alcohol consumption and cutting of cigarettes (tobacco).

The importance of the touch exam

Important for the early detection of prostate cancer, digital rectal examination lasts a maximum of 2 minutes. It is a painless exam that leaves no sequelae and is not so uncomfortable when compared to some gynecological exams.

So why do so many men fear this test? Simple: to palpate the prostate, the urologist needs to insert his finger into the patient’s rectum, that is, penetrate the anus with his finger.

The procedure is done using new disposable gloves and lubricant to ensure that there is no pain or discomfort when inserting the index finger into the rectum.

Often, after this test, the doctor also orders the PSA , a blood test that measures the specific prostate antigen, a substance that is high when there is a tumor in the prostate.

But it is important to note that approximately 20% of diagnoses are made only with the digital rectal exam, in which the doctor notices changes and sends the patient for confirmation of the condition.

The best way to treat and get a cure for the disease is through early diagnosis, which is only possible if there is health care.

When these preventive tests increase the suspicion of prostate cancer, the patient may be asked to perform other tests such as biopsy, transrectal ultrasound and bone scan.

How to participate in the movement?

If you, knowing the importance of prevention, want to participate in the Blue November, here are some tips:

  • Let the mustache grow during the month of November! If someone asks, you already know what to say;
  • Wear blue clothes and accessories throughout the month to draw attention to the cause;
  • Research prostate cancer and find out more about the disease;
  • Help demystify the digital rectal exam and encourage older friends or relatives who have never taken preventive measures;
  • Participate in events in support of the cause;
  • If you are a business owner, make a promotion in which a portion of the amount collected will be donated to a research and treatment institution;
  • On the Movember Foundation website, you can find out about other ways to get involved!

The Blue November is a campaign that has been growing more and more each year, bringing information, promoting health, offering exams and consultations with more affordable prices to men, as a measure of prevention and assistance to cancer patients.

Share this article to let more people know about the campaign and help prevent prostate cancer and other diseases!

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