Picture caption (from left to right): Mohammed Hamidi, Maju Miah, Ekramul Hoque, Mohammed Islam and Munshural Hassan.
Seven local NHS employees are shunning the razors this month in support of the annual Movember campaign to raise awareness about men's health.
Ekramul Hoque, Mohammad Hamidi, Alam Khan, Mohammed Islam and Maju Miah who work for Tower Hamlets GP Care group and Munshural Hassan and Nitesh Parekh, who work for Tower Hamlets Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), are growing moustaches throughout November to help highlight men's health issues such as prostate and testicular cancer, mental health and suicide.
Across the world men die on average six years earlier than women. Doctors say that for many men, a reluctance to talk about physical and mental health and an aversion to seeing their GP can potentially result in them facing more serious problems.
Many cancers are curable if caught quickly enough, and recognising the symptoms and speaking about them with your GP is vital to early diagnosis. Around a quarter of all types of cancer in Tower Hamlets are diagnosed in A&E and these cancers are often more advanced. This means that outcomes for these patients are more likely to be worse than for people whose cancer is found early.
It is important that men of all ages know their own bodies and act swiftly when they notice anything abnormal; seeing their GP as soon as possible and not leaving it until they feel unwell enough to go to A&E.
Seeking timely care is equally important for men suffering mental health problems. One in eight men in the UK have experienced poor mental health and four out of every five suicide victims in Tower Hamlets is a man.
Dr Tania Anastasiadis, GP Cancer Lead for Tower Hamlets CCG, said: "We're proud that our colleagues are actively joining the fight for men's health this month by growing moustaches to raise awareness for an incredibly worthwhile cause.
"With prostate and testicular cancer, early diagnosis and treatment is key; likewise, with mental health concerns – simply 'manning up' and ignoring poor health must never be an option.
"It's important that men know the symptoms of poor physical and mental health, spot the early warning signs and go to see their GP."
Some of the warning signs for prostate cancer include:
- urinating more frequently and especially during the night
- difficult and painful urination
- feeling that your bladder has not emptied fully
The most common symptom of testicular cancer is a painless lump or swelling in the testicles; but others can include a dull ache or a feeling of heaviness in the scrotum.
A full list of warning signs for prostate and testicular cancer can be found on the NHS website: www.nhs.uk
Support for mental health problems is available locally through a number of providers in Tower Hamlets, including:
- Compass Wellbeing - a safe and confidential environment to talk with a trained professional about negative thoughts and feelings.
- Inspire Mental Health Recovery & Wellbeing Services - a consortium of voluntary sector providers.
- Tower Hamlets Community Education Provider Network – provides suicide prevention awareness and mental health first aid training.
If you or someone you know is experiencing mental health issues and would like to seek help or advice, call the Tower Hamlets 24 hour Mental Health Crisis Helpline on 020 7771 5807.
For more information about Movember, see uk.movember.com