Men are notorious for wanting to work through pain, putting off doctors’ visits and insisting their health is fine when it may not be. This may be part of what led to the explosive growth of a facial hair-centered health awareness campaign during the month of November.
The tradition of “No-Shave November” stretches back well beyond 2009, but that was the year a Chicago family of eight siblings decided to tie it to a Facebook fundraiser honoring their father Matthew Hill, who died of colon cancer two years earlier.
Their efforts have since ballooned into a monthlong journey observed worldwide that encourages men to grow their beards (women can grow our leg or other bodily hair to participate) to raise awareness of all kinds of cancer, while raising more than $5 million for research.
Police departments, workplace pools, sports teams and other groups throughout the world participate every year by donating to these organizations or directly to nonprofits working to further men’s health.
One of No-Shave November’s sponsored organizations this year is again Fight Colorectal Cancer. This disease is becoming a more frequent diagnosis for younger men and women. African Americans are considerably more likely to die from it. The shocking death of 43-year-old Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman has brought more awareness to these facts this year.
The American Cancer Society reports the rate of colon cancer diagnoses among patients younger than 50 is rising by 2.2% each year and about 1% per year in ages 50 to 64, while declining 3% annually for those 65 and older, leading the American Cancer Society to lower its recommended age for regular screening of average-risk patients to 45.
Men have a slightly higher lifetime risk of colon cancer and significantly higher risk of rectal cancer compared to women.
Regular screening and being aware of risk factors and early symptoms is important. Visit www.cancer.org/cancer/colon-rectal-cancer.html for detailed information.
See no-shave.org for more information, to donate and to purchase merchandise to support the cause.