Health Care

‘Movember’ Mustaches Promote Prostate Cancer Awareness

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – One in seven American men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point in their lives. More than 233,000 will be diagnosed this year and 29,480 of them will die.

Still, many men – including an unusually high percentage of men in the Mahoning Valley – don’t get age-appropriate prostate cancer screenings.

As part of an ongoing effort to change that, Man Up Mahoning Valley, Mercy Health Cancer Centers, Mercy Health Foundation Mahoning Valley, NEO Urology, General Motors Lordstown, UAW Locals 1112 and 1714, Youngstown Phantoms Hockey and several community leaders are joining forces to generate awareness about prostate cancer and encourage men to get the age-appropriate screenings that could save their lives.

Some of the participants gathered Monday for a ceremonial “Movember” kickoff at Partners for Urology Health in Austintown. “It’s a fun way to get involved and raise awareness and it doesn’t cost anything,” says Jonathon Fauvie, gift officer, Mercy Health Foundation Mahoning Valley.

“Movember,” in its third year, takes place Nov. 1 to 30. Participants start the month clean shaven but grow and groom their mustaches the rest of the month. “The mustaches, especially on men who don’t usually have one, are a conversation starter,” Fauvie explains. “When somebody says something about it, that’s an opportunity to say ‘I’m growing it to raise awareness about prostate cancer and the need for age-appropriate screenings.’ ”

With prostate cancer, there are no symptoms until the disease is in advanced stages. Because most prostate cancers can be cured if they are discovered early, routine screenings are imperative.

Screenings consist of a digital rectal exam and a blood draw to check the level of prostate specific antigen (PSA). It’s important to get both the exam and the PSA test because with many men, suspicious findings are detected by one and not the other. Urologist Dan Ricchiuti recommends men begin annual prostate cancer screenings at age 40 – earlier if there is a family history of prostate cancer.

African-American men in the Mahoning Valley are twice as likely to get prostate cancer and to die from it as any other race, according to Man Up Mahoning Valley.

“Our goal is to raise awareness about prostate cancer and encourage men to talk with their doctors and get annual screenings,” Fauvie says.

“We hope we’ll have men throughout the entire community challenging their friends, families and coworkers to grow mustaches and spread the word about the importance of prostate cancer screenings. We hope women will get involved too. Women can’t grow mustaches, but they can encourage the men. Women are very important,” he continues, “because they are the ones who often insist that the men in their lives see their doctors.”

For more information about the Movember campaign, visit www.facebook.com/ManUPMahoningValley.

Pictured: Don Koenig, chief operating officer of Mercy Health Youngstown, joins prostate cancer survivor Steve Burbrink and Jonathon Fauvie from the Mercy Health Foundation at a press event launching the campaign.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.