By Katie Ariganello

‘No-Shave November’ is back and this means men will put their razors away and embrace their facial hair for the entire month. Dr. Jonathan Stewart, an assistant professor of family and community medicine at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, says this annual campaign raises awareness about men’s health and the importance of early detection and screening for colon, prostate and testicular cancer.

“1 in 8 men will develop prostate cancer during their lives, and about 2-3 percent of men will die of prostate cancer,” said Stewart. “While no tests are perfect, men aged 55 to 69 are encouraged to talk to their doctors about the possible benefits of screening for prostate cancer.”

No-Shave November was started in 2009 by the Hill family in response to the death of Matthew Hill from colon cancer in 2007. Since then, the organization has promoted hair growth in November, something cancer patients often cannot do, as a way of raising awareness of cancers that commonly affect men such as colon, prostate, and testicular cancer.

“Participants in ‘No-Shave November’ are encouraged to ditch the razors and hair salon appointments for the month and contribute those savings to the cause. Since 2009, the organization has helped raise $12 million to support research and treatment efforts,” said Stewart.

Stewart shares the following ways to get involved and raise awareness during ‘No-Shave November.

- Let the hair grow!  Embrace the fuzzy side of life with a goal of starting some conversations with those around you about why you're putting down the razor.

- Encourage those around you to take charge of their own health and avoid falling into the trap of ignoring what their body could be telling them when things don't seem right.

- For those motivated to provide financial support, the ‘No-Shave November’ website allows individuals and teams to sign up for fundraising, designating which cancer fighting or research organization can benefit from the contributions.

About Stewart

Jonathan Stewart is an assistant professor of family and community medicine at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine. He is a medical doctor of family medicine at Carilion Clinic Family Medicine – Southeast in Roanoke, Va. Stewart attended the University of Virginia Medical School and his residency was at Lancaster (Pa.) General Hospital. He is board certified by the American Board of Family Medicine.

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