Why November is the Hairiest Month of the Year

Well it’s that time of year again folks. When young (and old) men’s thoughts turn to turkey, football, and not having to shave their faces for a month!

Whether sprouting a mustache for Movember, or letting the whole face go for No Shave November, men around the country are taking up the cause to “spark conversation [about men’s health] and raise vital funds for its men’s health programs.”

The Movember Foundation, which began in 2003 in Australia, has  raised $559 million to date and funded over 800 programs in 21 countries. There have been over 4 million mustaches grown so far!

No Shave November was started in 2009 by Rebecca Hill  and her friend, Bret Ringdahl. Rebecca had lost her father to cancer and was looking for a way that anyone “could raise money to fight cancer and have fun doing it.”  Their concept- everyone spends some of their money on “grooming”, so:

“If just for November, those individuals gave that cost (ranging from a few dollars for razors to a $100 salon visit) to a cancer charity instead, friends and family alone could pool together a sizable chunk of change to help cancer patients and their families.”

In 2013, they teamed with the American Cancer Society, to ensure that raised funds were distributed to areas important to their team, namely research, prevention, education, and continuing care.

Celebrities such as Seth Rogen, Ethan Zohn, Hulk Hogan have participated in the programs. Last year, the entire Today show crew (in front and behind the camera) participated in No Shave November. As part of the educational function of the movement, Matt Lauer and Al Roker arranged to have prostate exams live “on the air.”

The Today team is back again this year, and this time they’ve gotten Carson Daly and Willie Geist to agree to “live”‘ testicular examinations. Geist’s wife, Christina, greeted the news with mild amusement. She asked her husband on Twitter, “Really honey?” to which he replied, “It was @CarsonDaly’s idea.”

General Men’s Health Stats in the US

  • Average life expectancy for men in the United States is almost five years less than women (76.2 years     compared to 81 years)
  • Around 15 million American adults (6.7% of the population) are diagnosed with depression each year.
  • 1 in 2 men will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime
  • More than one-third of adults (34.9%) in the United States are obese
  • 12.1% of men 18 years and over are in fair or poor health


Prostate Cancer Facts

  • Prostate cancer is the 2nd most common cancer in men in the United States
  • In 2014, more than 233,000 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer
  • 1 in 7 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime
  • 1 in 36 men will die from prostate cancer (about 29,480 men) accounting for about 22% of all male deaths from cancer
  • Risk of being diagnosed with prostate cancer increases with age

Testicular Cancer Facts

  • Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in young men aged 15 – 35 years
  • About 8,820 new cases of testicular cancer are diagnosed in men each year
  • About 380 men will die of testicular cancer
  • Testicular cancer is generally rare in non-Caucasian populations worldwide
  • The five-year relative survival rate for men in the United States with localized testicular cancer is 99%

Mental Health Facts

  • 1 in 4 adults in the United States will experience a mental health problem in a given year
  • Around 15 million American adults (6.7% of the population) are diagnosed with depression each year
  • 1 in 5 adults each year experience an anxiety disorder
  • In 2010, a total of 38,364 Americans died by suicide and over three-quarters (79%) of these suicides were men
  • More than four times as many men as women die by suicide in the United States
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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