November 25, 2013
More and more men are walking around with mustaches this month to raise awareness for men's health issues for a movement called Movember.
In 2003, a group of 30 men in Australia decided to grow mustaches to shine light on men's health issues like prostate cancer and mental health.
"Guys are their worst enemies and this is a nice way of saying, hey, lets raise national awareness for guys," said Dr. William Steers, UVa. Chair of Urology.
Ten years after Movember began, it has become and international campaign with more than a million men participating.
Justin Stone is growing a full beard to celebrate Movember. He and several of his colleagues are taking part in the event.
"By having one month where we all do it, it extrapolates across the whole year," said Stone. "Every time you have to shave or think about shaving, I think it's just tied right there and we all think, 'well, when was the last time I went to the doctor?'. To have that connection is really important."
The entire UVa. Department of Radiation Oncology is also participating to change the face and perception toward men's health.
"I think it's long overdue that we start changing the dialogue and also start talking about men because they die five years earlier than women and they're actually in worse health," Dr. Steers said.
Dr. Steers said the mustache is a great way to get the conversation going and many people have asked him about his new facial hair with disbelief that he is growing one.
"Shock," explained Dr. Steers. "It's so out of character for me and I think that's the whole point. If you already had a mustache of beard, it's like, what's the difference. When they see you with it, their immediate question is 'what's that all about?' and then you tell them about Movember."
Dr. Steers also said that men are more apathetic about health issues than women and it's a world wide issue.
"You name the country, there's a disparity where men always die younger than women, but probably for different reasons," Stone said.
Movember is creating an international platform, or as the campaign says, "A Hair Raising Journey", for men's health awareness.
Mo is a nickname for mustache, hence the Movember name. In other countries, mustache is spelled "moustache".
To find out more about the organization click here.
To follow the UVa. Department of Urology's journey, click here.