To Beard or not to Beard?

[avatar user=”dponieman” size=”thumbnail” align=”left” link=””]by Diego Ponieman M.D., M.P.H.[/avatar]  You may have taken notice of the increasing number of men who have been growing out their facial hair come November. No, there is not a shortage of grooming and shaving products nor are they aiming for extra warmth – it is actually all in part of a month-long campaign called No-Shave November.

No-Shave November, otherwise known as ‘Movember’ is a month-long journey during which individuals forgo shaving and grooming in order to spark conversation and raise awareness of men’s health issues, such as cancer awareness and men’s suicide. And in lieu of the need to purchase shaving and grooming products, participants instead will donate to educate about cancer prevention, save lives, and aid those fighting the battle.

One of the main cancers that Movember is centered around is prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men, which is a disease in which cells in the body grow out of control.  All men are at risk for prostate cancer where the risk of getting it increases with age. It is important to consider getting screened if you have a family history of prostate cancer, are African-American and if you are between 55 to 69 years.

Another cancer that Movember is focused on raising awareness for is testicular cancer. Testicular cancer occurs in the testicles, which is located inside the scrotum, and although not preventable, it is highly treatable. Compared with other types of cancer, testicular cancer is rare but most common in American males between the ages of 15 and 35.

Lastly, Movember also seeks to raise awareness on men’s suicide. According to a CDC study, the suicide rate of males aged 15-74 increased 21.4% in 2016 from 17.7% in 2000, with firearms being the most common means of suicide. With increasing rates, it is crucial to call attention to these alarming suicide rates and focus on the importance of mental health.

Due to the growing health concerns of men, it is important for campaigns like Movember to help draw attention to some of these issues.

Now, ready to start your Movember journey? Great! As you commit to growing out that mustache, you are bound to get a few compliments – and probably some confused questions from friends or family, which is a perfect segue into sharing why Movember is an important time of year. Make sure to check out No Shave November to learn how to get involved and participate this November!