Why are Matt Lauer and Al Roker Refusing to Shave?

MATT-LAUER-beard

On this morning’s Today show co-host Savannah Guthrie predicted that the look of the show will be changing over the month of November. That’s because all the men of the show, including Matt Lauer, Al Roker, Carson Daly and Willie Geist will not shave for the entire month. They are calling the campaign “No Shave November” and they are doing it to promote awareness of mens’ health issues, such as prostate and testicular cancer.

It’s not just the on-screen cast that is forgoing the razor- the set crew and control room men are also participating.

However, the concept of No Shave November is not new. It is really an offshoot of  a campaign called Movember. Movember is a men’s health awareness movement celebrated in the month of November. Started in November 2003 by a small group of men in Melbourne, Australia, the movement has now expanded worldwide.

Celebrities such as Seth Rogen and Hulk Hogan have lent their voices to the Movember movement.

Ethan Zohn, Survivor contestant and real-life two-time cancer survivor, took part in the movement last year.  He told People magazine:

As a full-time cancer crusher, I’m always looking for fun ways to get involved with the fight against cancer… What better than to have an excuse to let yourself get really hairy for cancer research?

Participants, called Mo Bros, register with the Movember site at the beginning of the month. They start clean-shaven, but vow to grow and cultivate their mustaches over the entire month. Supported by their friends and the women in their lives (called Mo Sistas) Mo Bros “raise funds by seeking out sponsorship for their Mo-growing efforts.”

The money raised is donated to organizations working on men’s health issues, specifically prostate and testicular cancer initiatives. In 2012, over 1.1 million Mo Bros and Mo Sistas around the world joined the movement, raising USD $147.0 million. In the US, over 209,000 Mo’s raised $21.0 million. Organizations that have received support from  Movember funds include the Prostate Cancer Foundation, and Livestrong.

But the Mo Bros serve a second function, as “walking, talking billboards” throughout the month. They are encouraged to have “private and public conservations” about issues concerning men’s health. This is where social networking is playing a big part:

Some facts about Men’s Health (courtesy of Movember.com)

  • The average life expectancy for men is five years fewer than women (presently 77 years old compared to 82).
  • 1 in 2 men, and 1 in 3 women, will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime.
  • 1 in 6 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime.
  • In 2012, 242,000 new cases of the disease will be diagnosed and more than 28,000 men will die of prostate cancer.
  • Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in American males between the ages of 15 and 35.
  • 8,590 men will be diagnosed with the disease in 2012 and 360 will die.
  • 1 in every 13 men will develop lung cancer.
  • In 2012, an estimated 13 million, or 11.8%, of all adult men over the age of 20 in the U.S. have diabetes.
  • Approximately 76.4 million men and women in the U.S. have high blood pressure — and 1 in 5 do not know it.
  • About 1 in 3 adults has high blood pressure, and blood pressure tends to rise with age.
  • Researchers estimate that at least 6 million men in the United States suffer from a depressive disorder every year.
  • Four times as many men commit suicide compared with women.
  • 24% of men are less likely to go to the doctor compared to women.
Michele R. Berman, M.D. was Clinical Director of The Pediatric Center, a private practice on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. from 1988-2000, and was named Outstanding Washington Physician by Washingtonian Magazine in 1999. She was a medical internet pioneer having established one of the first medical practice websites in 1997. Dr. Berman also authored a monthly column for Washington Parent Magazine.

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