Two weeks in, and you could say I am actually getting the hang of being a Mo Bro. You could, in fact, call me a ‘Mo Pro’ (sorry, could not resist). It is only facial hair, but embracing it has opened up a whole new world. I was told my new look made me look like a 'poor man's Derren Brown' this week. Words I never expected to hear (especially not from my own mother!).
Last week I took my Mo on the road, for the first time. (Clearly, it would have been difficult to leave it behind). We hit Liverpool, attending the conference of the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI), which brings together the major funders of cancer research in the UK. The Prostate Cancer Charity is the newest - and twenty-second - proud member of the organisation, which supports partner bodies to share learning, develop common plans and avoid unnecessary duplication of efforts. We are breaking ground, by becoming the first men’s health Charity to make it into the NCRI, which aims to make sure that patients get the maximum benefit from cancer research in the UK.
Membership alone signifies that we have become a ‘major funder’ of research in the UK. This is in no small part thanks to the efforts of the Mo Bros and Sistas over the past few years - enabling us to channel vital funds into credible, valuable research. We are committed to working with Movember to continue to significantly increase that investment for the long term. This is why everyone who sports a Mo, or supports the men in their lives, can say they are helping us get closer to improving diagnosis and treatment options for men.
The main reason for me attending the conference was to chair a session on improving research into 'survivorship'. There are currently some 250,000 men living with the disease in the UK - and this will rise as diagnosis and treatment improves. It is vitally important that high quality, and consistent, services are available for all of these men - wherever they live. This is a disease which can have a huge impact on men's lives - and their loved ones - from depression to a loss of libido to the emotional and pysical changes caused by hormone therapy. All men deserve the best care and support, from the point of diagnosis, all the way through the journey to treatment and beyond. This is where the army of Mo Bros and Sistas comes in again.
The provision of high quality survivorship services is the other priority investment area for the Charity with the money that is raised through Movember. We will be building a programme of new and expanded services to ensure that there are high quality, evidence based services in place to help men live the fullest lives possible with and beyond prostate cancer.
At the session we heard about a new service the Charity is providing to men who are suffering fatigue as a result of their cancer and the associated treatments. It is a common experience that cancer can leave men feeling exhausted and the inability to undertake everyday tasks can extenuate the impact that cancer has on their lives. The new service provides support and coping techniques to minimise the impact of cancer fatigue and, as it is a new service, we are evaluating the results to ensure that it has the right impact.
Following the blog last week, there were a couple of requests for photographic evidence of this Mo of mine, which I have to say has become somewhat technicolour. Every colour - from red to blonde - in fact, apart for the colour of the hair on my head. At least it has attained some depth and is no longer in danger of being seen as a gravy stain. So, my picture went up onto the Charity’s Facebook page and it was great to see that it prompted fellow Mo Bros to do the same. You can see the evidence here. The eagle-eyed will have spotted that I have also changed the banner of this blog to reflect my new look.
I will put up a new picture this week so that you can see how to the Mo is coming along. After all it is really important to keep up the 'Mo-mentum'!