By Lilly Quiroz
If you noticed some clean-shaven faces on Nov. 1, those men were probably preparing to participate in No Shave November — or Movember — in an attempt to raise awareness of men’s health issues.
The Movember foundation encourages men to grow mustaches to raise awareness for men’s health, including prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and mental health and suicide prevention.
Jared Walker, a J.D. candidate and engineering master’s student, is participating in No Shave November. He said he is doing it to raise awareness for a good cause.
“I think it’s increased over the past few years with more people being aware of what it’s for, instead of just participating,” Walker said.
Andrew Everett, a freshman architecture major, said he chose to partake in No Shave November as an excuse to grow out his facial hair.
Although Everett has participated in the event on and off for the past couple of years, he said he does not think it does its job to raise awareness for cancer. Everett said he did not know it had anything to do with cancer until now.
“I think tons of people—like me—only participate because of the fun change it is to our appearance, without having the slightest clue what the event is even for,” Everett said.
Everett said with the purpose of the event now in mind, he can proudly grow out his facial hair in support of those who cannot do so.
Jason Morton, a testicular cancer survivor, participated in Movember for three years. Although he is not participating this year, he said he is always raising awareness. He is active in the Livestrong Foundation, Testicular Cancer Foundation and serves on the Lubbock board of director for the American Cancer Society.
Morton said women can also help raise awareness by engaging in the conversation and by helping men to be more conscientious of their health.
“There is a fair amount of testicular cancer that is found by significant others, whether they saw their husband in the shower or while they were having intimate relationships, she noticed something out of the norm,” Morton said.
If a woman knows what signs to look for, she can be a better advocate for men’s health, Morton said. He said if men were to go in and get regular exams like women do, the doctors might be able to detect the cancer earlier.
“It’s not something men are comfortable with,” Morton said. “Western civilization has a stigma against men going to the doctor.”
According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 8,720 new cases of testicular cancer will be diagnosed in 2016. Most of the men diagnosed with this cancer are between the ages of 15 and 40. The website states that testicular cancer can usually be treated successfully, so a man’s lifetime risk of dying from this cancer is very low.
“For men, we think we’re ten feet tall and bulletproof, and we don’t need to go to the doctor,” Morton said.
Morton said foundations are trying to help men recognize it is socially acceptable to go to the doctor.
“It doesn’t mean you’re any less of a man,” Morton said. “It doesn’t mean that you’re weak. It just means that you’re trying to take care of yourself.”