The meaning of Movember

How top-lip topiary is supporting vital services for men living with cancer

If you noticed an increase in bristling top lips last month, then you could be witnessing the effects of Movember

The annual moustache-growing campaign boosts awareness of men’s health issues and raises funds for related charities. One of those is Prostate Cancer UK, which receives money from Movember. And while the month-long event puts prostate cancer in the spotlight, the charity’s work continues all year around.

In particular, its specialist nurses provide support and information for men living with prostate cancer or worried they may have it. RCN member Teresa Lynch has worked within the charity’s specialist nurse direct services for 11 years, alongside 12 other specialist nurses.

“The men who call can be anything from 30 to 60 and beyond – although most of our calls are from people over 40,” she says. “Sometimes it’s just a one-off call, but on other occasions you can talk to the same person a number of times. We always tell people not to hesitate to call us back and often they do. If it’s appropriate, we’ll call them back too.

“We give a wide range of support, from helping people deal with emerging worries to coping with diagnoses and symptoms. Many are reluctant to bother their GP and call us first, which is an opportunity to give them the information they are looking for.”

Photomicrograph of prostate hyperplasia

Micrograph of metastatic prostate carcinoma

A chance to talk

“It’s not unusual for callers to be very quiet. We use our skills to ask the right questions to get them talking and give us the facts we need to begin to help and reassure them.”

The service isn’t just confined to the phone. “As well as calls we talk to people via email and live webchats,” explains Teresa. “Additionally we speak to support groups and can help to train volunteers. Our fatigue support service is having more success each year. Levels of fatigue are going down, which is really satisfying.”

Teresa Lynch

Teresa Lynch

Keeping the team’s knowledge and skills up-to-date is also a priority for the charity. “A variety of external specialists provide clinical supervision,” says Teresa. “It could be a counselling expert or clinical nurse specialists from specific areas. Every nurse also takes part in regular 360 reviews and we’re encouraged to work on our continuous professional development.” 

Taking around 14,000 calls each year, every day provides new challenges and situations for the team. “It’s a different type of nursing,” Teresa says, “It’s not hands on, but I’m happy to give support from a different perspective. It’s good to know that we’re helping nurses who are busy on the ward and giving men and their relatives a private, uninterrupted chance to talk.

“We also write for professional journals, assist in the teaching of our national prostate cancer masterclasses for GPs and help with the creation and review of our charity literature.”  
The charity also works alongside Movember to support nurses and other health care professionals within the NHS. The charities recently supported the development of a new Supported Self-Management approach to prostate cancer follow-up care. The model gives men control of their own care through an easy-to-use online portal, freeing vital NHS time and resources while maintaining or even improving outcomes for the men involved.
The Specialist Nurse phone service is free to landlines and open from 9am to 6pm Monday to Friday, and 10am to 8pm on Wednesdays on 0800 074 8383.

Find out more 

Prostate Cancer UK

Prostate Cancer UK has a simple ambition: to stop men dying from prostate cancer. The charity is investing millions to find better treatments and tests that could save thousands of lives.

It also:

  • works with the NHS to make sure men get access to breakthrough tests and treatments.
  • spreads the word about who is at risk of prostate cancer, especially to those at higher risk. 
  • supports people dealing with prostate cancer and provide health information. 

Visit now to help beat this disease.

RCN Cancer and Breast Care Forum

The RCN Cancer and Breast Care Forum supports nursing staff who work in cancer and breast care. It provides opportunities for development, networking and leading innovative patient care.


Movember is the leading global men’s health charity. 
The charity raises funds to deliver innovative, breakthrough research and support programmes that enable men to live happier, healthier and longer lives. Committed to disrupting the status quo, millions have joined the movement, helping fund over 1,250 projects focusing on prostate cancer, testicular cancer and suicide prevention. 
In addition to tackling key health issues faced by men, Movember is working to encourage men to stay healthy in all areas of their life, with a focus on men staying socially connected and becoming more open to discussing their health and significant moments in their lives. 
The charity’s vision is to have an everlasting impact on the face of men’s health. To donate or learn more, please visit

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