No Shave November prompts scruffy faces for prostate cancer awareness
Jall Cowasji, The Oklahoma Daily
Beards have begun cropping up across campus with the annual No Shave November trend. Some students choose to forgo shaving for prostate cancer awareness; others use it as an excuse to parade their masculinity.
Mark Wilson, mechanical engineering senior, is raising prostate cancer awareness with his scruffy jaw.
“My roommate’s father actually has prostate cancer and that’s when I first heard of doing it for that reason,” Wilson said.
Joshua Henderson, University College freshman, said he feels like raising awareness for prostate cancer is important, rather than just showing off one’s manliness.
“I think it’s good to not just do it for no reason. I can endorse that,” Henderson said about the tradition.
Henderson said he also is doing it to be more “eco-friendly,” by not purchasing as much shaving cream and razors that have to be thrown away.
Several participants remain unaware of not shaving for cancer awareness. University College freshman Brandon Bartlett said he had never heard of it before.
“I just see it as a month when you can grow it out to test your manliness, and not be judged,” Bartlett said. “I thought it originated as a joke.”
Beginning Nov. 1 with a freshly shaven face, participants are not allowed to shave or trim at all. Not shaving the face is the most common, but participation is not limited to strictly beard growing.
As No Shave November has been growing in trend, so has prostate cancer research and awareness, which is often overshadowed by breast cancer awareness.
Making men aware of the possibility of prostate cancer and early detection makes it easier to treat, said Jim Dowd, a representative from The Prostate Cancer Institute in Tulsa.
“It has a high success rate of treatments,” said Dowd.
The mortality rate remains low if it is caught early and treated, he said.
Awareness to prostate cancer research has been made more prominent with an increased number of clinical trials at the OU Cancer Institute in the last two years.
“We currently have more people enrolled in prostate cancer trials than any other trial at the institute,” said Susie Morgal, research clinical nurse specialist.
The OU Cancer Institute is researching seven different clinical trials, Morgal said. Trials are being done on high, intermediate, and low-risk prostate cancers.
More than 2,000 Oklahoman men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year, according to the OU Cancer Institute website.
College students often use it as a competition among friends to see who can grow the best, or most burly beard.
“You get some good beards and you get some gross and patchy ones,” Bartlett said.
Men around the country are encouraged to participate in a similar tradition called “Movember.” This is a movement that grows specifically moustaches during November to raise prostate cancer awareness, according to the Prostate Cancer Foundation’s website.
Some females even chose to opt out of shaving, though not as numerous or open as the male participants.
No Shave November has become a widely known tradition. More than 200 Facebook groups or pages exist, with members and “likes” ranging from 11 to almost 20,000.
It has even inspired an indie-pop-rock band from Halmstad, Sweden to dub themselves “No Shave November.”
Once November ends, the beards come off. But, some chose to continue the no shaving streak well into the next months with the lesser known “Don’t Shave December,” and “Just Don’t Shave January.”