October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Everyone from elementary school kids to NFL football players wears pink in order to show their support for fighting the devastating disease and to remind women to get their annual mammograms. It’s a fantastic annual campaign that keeps awareness – about prevention, funding for research, and supporting others – in the forefront of the public’s collective mind.
That’s the same idea behind No Shave November:
“No-Shave November is a month-long journey during which participants forgo shaving and grooming in order to evoke conversation and raise cancer awareness.”
The idea for fundraising was started by the Hill Family:
“No-Shave November has been a tradition for many years, but it wasn’t until the fall of 2009 that members of the Chicagoland Hill family decided to use it as a means to raise money for charity. It was a project that held special meaning to the eight Hill children after their father, Matthew Hill, passed away from colon cancer in November 2007.”
When I first learned about No Shave November, I was told that it was to raise awareness for men’s health issues, particularly prostate cancer. While the No Shave November website does not focus on one particular type of cancer, I use every November as an opportunity to remind men over the age of 50 (younger if there’s a history of cancer in your family) to get prostate screenings.
My father-in-law fought prostate cancer and won in 1993.
His oldest son fought prostate cancer and won in 2006.
His younger brother fought prostate cancer and lost that battle in 2014.
Several years ago, his youngest son – my husband – saw his PSA levels jump from .01 to over 5.0 in one year. Because of this test result and his family history, my husband has had regular screenings at a urologist. The urologist told us from day one: “With your history, it’s not a matter of if, but when.”
With yearly visits to the doctor, my husband will be able to catch the disease early and win the fight.
But not all men get screened. Here’s why men should take the time to have prostate exams:
“Other than skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men. The American Cancer Society’s estimates for prostate cancer in the United States for 2015 are:
- About 220,800 new cases of prostate cancer
- About 27,540 deaths from prostate cancer
About 1 man in 7 will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime.
Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in American men, behind only lung cancer. About 1 man in 38 will die of prostate cancer.”
Tell the men in your life to see the doctor.
And guys, you can use No Shave November as an opportunity to save time (no shaving!), save money (no razors and creams!), and bring awareness to prostate cancer and other men’s health issues.