People are used to seeing Andrew Armstrong, MD, clean-shaven in his crisp white doctor’s coat. But every November, the Duke cancer specialist skips the razor and lets his “Easy Rider”-esque handlebar mustache grow in honor of "Movember."
The Movember Foundation is an international campaign that has raised $559 million since it began in 2003. It encourages men to grow facial hair during November to spark conversations about men's health, and prostate cancer in particular. In the U.S., 1 in 7 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. That’s about 230,000 men every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"Movember is both a fundraiser and a way to build awareness for men’s health issues,” Armstrong, MD, said. “It’s aligned with our goals to identify prostate cancer earlier, to treat the disease effectively and keep men at the top of their game. We want to focus on research efforts, and help men survive a longer period of time with a good quality of life.”
Michael Ferrandino, MD, a urologic oncologist, said growing facial hair prompts conversations. “Patients approach you, people on the street approach you, people in the neighbor that don’t usually see you with this fuzzy upper lip come up to you ask, ‘Why are you growing this mustache?’” he said. “It brings their attention to these issues.”