The pencil, the walrus, the handlebar, and the Fu Manchu – they’re not obscure clues in a parlor game, they’re types of mustaches. And this month, you’re likely seeing lots of them around Tosa and beyond.
Remember last week’s Packers game? The heat Aaron Rodgers is taking, not only for the loss, but for his facial hair?
Welcome to Movember: a worldwide movement to promote awareness of prostate and testicular cancer, and to raise funds for research and screening. Throughout the month (mustache + November), men grow mustaches in a bizarre competition to ultimately save lives.
The statistics are staggering: One in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime. More than 240,000 new cases will be diagnosed this year, and 28,000 men will die. That makes prostate cancer the second-leading cause of cancer death in American men, behind only lung cancer.
In Milwaukee, the group leading fundraising efforts is a natural fit for Movember: about a dozen urologists at Froedtert Hospital and The Medical College of Wisconsin. The residents, led by Dr. Khanh Pham, created a team called “Mo’ Staches, Mo’ Lives.” The physicians decided to participate to help change the face of men’s health and fight a disease they see up close, every day.
“We don’t really have a great way to screen for it, or a great way to treat it, and I think it deserves extra attention because of that,” said Pham. “We got together and everyone was really excited about joining the team.”
Movember has particular rules that must be followed. Participants must start with clean-shaven faces. While one is allowed to grow sideburns or a beard, it may not connect with the mustache, and all facial hair must be groomed daily. Additionally, participants are expected to behave “as country gentlemen.” You’re allowed to shave when December begins, if you’d like.
Pham said those rules just add to the fun, and act as team-building motivators. “We’re having a good time with it, and it’s a healthy competition as well,” he said.
He wasn’t sure how many mustaches will remain at the end of the month. “A lot of wives get out the razors in time for holiday pictures.”
The doctors’ efforts are paying off. Mo’ Staches, Mo’ Lives is leading the Milwaukee area in fundraising, with nearly $4,000 raised.
You can find their team page at http://us.movember.com/team/524769.