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Past the 'stache: The real meaning of Movember

  • For one month, guys are 'walking billboards for men’s health'
  • 'Stache for cash: Fundraiser to fight testicular, prostate cancer
  • Discrepancy in health coverage for breast vs. prostate cancer
Movember mustaches raise funds for men's health.

Zach Rosenberg, author

Editor's Note: Zach Rosenberg is co-founder of, a site that offers a daily shot of fatherhood news, interviews, dadvertising, and fatherly opinions on parenthood topics. You can find him on Twitter @zjrosenberg. He lives in Southern California with his wife and 3-year-old son.

So we’re halfway through Movember and -- oh, wait. You... don’t know about Movember yet?

Mustaches put the “Mo” in Movember -- a month of raising awareness and donations toward prostate and testicular cancer initiatives. Typically, men grow mustaches in grand (and some, not so grand) fashion, lobbying friends and family to donate toward charity. The Movember organization started in 2003 in Australia, and since then, has raised over $300 million.

There is undoubtedly a need for an increase in funding and research for men’s health. Prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer in America. To put it in perspective - we’re all familiar with breast cancer research during the month of October. It will develop in 1 in 8 women during their lifetime.

Prostate cancer, however, will strike 1 in 6 men during their lifetime. Testicular cancer rates are lower, striking 1 in 270 men.

Still, breast cancer has received more attention, even being written into The Affordable Care Act. Men’s health screenings, however, were not.

Howard Goldman of the National Coalition For Men petitioned President Obama for equality in health care. “Breast cancer screenings are fully covered without deductibles, co-pays or out-of-pocket costs,” says Goldman in his petition. “Prostate cancer screenings require men to find a way to pay those extra costs or be denied preventative care.”

Between diagnoses and deaths from prostate and testicular cancer, the amount of men directly affected in 2012 is estimated by the American Cancer Society as 278,860. This doesn’t count men who had been previously diagnosed and are living with these cancers.

The hub of all of this activity is the Movember website, where men (and women!) can create profiles and become Mo Bros and Mo Sistas. These participants then become part of the Movember team, committed to promoting education, awareness, research and above all, survivorship. Money that the Mo Bros and Sistas raise during the month go toward programs run by Movember, as well as to their partners in men’s health: the Prostate Cancer Foundation and LIVESTRONG.

So, if you’ve been seeing your male Facebook friends growing mustaches this month, they’re not just in on some collective joke; these men are part of a worldwide team of walking billboards for men’s health and survivorship. You should consider donating a couple dollars to one or more of them. You’ll be helping to change the face of men’s health. And we thank you for it.

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