Movember is Here: Raising Awareness About Men’s Health

You may have noticed an increase in men sporting moustaches in recent years during the month of November, which, since 2003, has become known as “Movember.” All the fuss (and extra facial hair) is about more than merely an excuse for men to get creative with their moustaches; it’s an important movement designed to raise awareness of men’s health issues. Since its inception in 2003, The Movember Foundation has raised more than $650 million and funded more than 1,000 programs that focus on men’s health concerns such as prostate cancer, testicular cancer, poor mental health and physical activity.

Movember vs. No Shave November Movember vs No Shave November

If you thought Movember was about growing extraordinarily bushy beards, you’re not alone. In fact, No Shave November is actually a thing, and it’s often confused with Movember. Both movements aim to increase awareness of men’s health issues, primarily prostate cancer and testicular cancer. The difference lies in the approach: Movember participants grow a moustache, while No Shave November participants can grow both beards and moustaches.

The No Shave November website explains, “The goal of No Shave November is to grow awareness by embracing our hair, which many cancer patients lose, and letting it grow wild and free.” Participants grow a full beard, shaving a unique moustache at the end of the month. Men are asked to donate the money they would typically spend on shaving and grooming to “educate about cancer prevention, save lives, and aid those fighting the battle.

According to some sources, Movember does not allow beards; in fact, there are strict rules regarding manscaping. Your moustache may not join with your sideburns, which is considered a beard. Your moustache may also not join the handlebars to your chin, which would be considered a goatee. Moustaches only for “Mo Bros,” as participants have become known.

Movember and No Shave November fundraising

While both movements support the same initiatives, one key difference between the two is that Movember raises funds which go directly to support organizations that research and men’s health issues. No Shave November, on the other hand, encourages participants to donate the funds they’ve saved from shaving and grooming to these charities and organizations on their own.

According to the Prostate Cancer Foundation, “Funds raised in the US are directed to programs run directly by Movember, Prostate Cancer Foundation and the LIVESTRONG Foundation. Together, the three channels work together to ensure that Movember funds are supporting a broad range of innovative, world-class programs in the areas of awareness and education, survivorship and research.”

Men are able to register at Movember.com to participate, and women (“Mo Sistas”) and men alike are able to support his efforts in growing a “Mo,” Australian slang for moustache, as the movement originated in Australia. For 30 days, Movember participants get friends and family members to support his efforts through donations. No Shave November also allows men to create teams and fundraising pages to get friends and family involved in their efforts to support men’s health initiatives.

How are the funds used?

At the time of this writing, 943 teams with more than 3,500 participants in No Shave November have raised nearly $190,000 to support organizations like the American Cancer Society, the Prevent Cancer Foundation, Fight Colorectal Cancer, and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. In 2014, participants in Movember raised $20.2 million in the U.S. for the Movember Foundation, with 80 percent of the funds raised allocated to men’s health programs. In the U.S., Movember’s partner programs include “the Prostate Cancer Foundation, the LIVESTRONG Foundation and the Prevention Institute.

“These partners, along with Movember Foundation managed programs, ensure that donations support a broad range of innovative, world-class initiatives.” According to the Movember website, all funds distributed to these partners are restricted for use only in Movember approved programs. For participants, that means assurance that 100 percent of the funds are used to directly support the delivery of health initiatives; none are used to cover Movember partners’ fundraising and promotional costs.

No matter your preference for facial hair, there’s a way for every man and every woman to get involved in raising awareness for men’s health issues this month. Whether you sport a moustache, grow out your beard, or simply support someone else who is, everyone can participate in improving the health and well-being for men everywhere during the month of November.

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