Health Team

Moustaches fundraise for cancer in 'Movember' movement

Posted November 5, 2015 5:00 p.m. EST
Updated November 5, 2015 5:56 p.m. EST

— More Durham men are sporting mustaches this month as part of the “Movember” movement, a worldwide campaign to get men to exercise more and get recommended health screenings. It’s also a way to raise money to help more men survive prostate cancer.

“Movember” in Durham began with a free, clean professional shave. To carry the visible message of the men’s health awareness campaign there’s only one requirement.

“You do have to be able to grow a mustache,” said Duke Medical oncologist, Dr. Dan George.

“It’s just a way to get out the message that prostate cancer is important,” added Duke Medical oncologist, Dr. Andrew Armstrong.

The campaign, with symbolic moustaches and fundraising efforts, has spread campus and community-wide. A lot of the money raised will target prostate cancer research.

“One in seven men will be diagnosed in their lifetime with prostate cancer,” said Duke urologic surgeon, Dr. Michael Granier.

“Despite all our screening efforts and everything else, we’re still losing men every single day to this disease,” said George.

Any man can get prostate cancer, but some are at special risk.

“If you’ve had cancer yourself, if you’re African-American, we know that men who are African American have a higher risk of getting prostate cancer and when they have prostate cancer, it’s more aggressive,” said Armstrong.

With early screening and detection, there is hope for prostate cancer patients.

“Management has changed. It’s gotten more nuanced and we can treat the appropriate patients more aggressively and manage quite conservatively the patients who don’t need to be treated,” said George.

Research is also focused on survivorship, when many men face side effects like incontinence and erectile dysfunction.

“I think we’ve become very good at treating the disease and prolonging men’s lives, but now we also want to improve quality of live since we’re living longer,” said Granier.

Duke's fundraising for “Movember” has grown every year. In its first year, the campaign raised just $2,000. Last year, the total was $20,000.