03/18/2010 05:12 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

'Movember': Facial Hair for a Cause

It's halfway through November and Lynn Lane's upper lip is getting hairy.

That's because he hasn't shaved his mustache since October, and doesn't plan on doing so until December. No, this isn't a Gillette boycott. Lane is a cancer-advocate, joining thousands of men in raising awareness of prostate and testicular cancer.

Movember is an international month-long "celebration" of the mustache, where men grow out their whiskers to raise money and awareness of major health issues affecting their gender. The activists, appropriately called "Mo Bros", are a walking billboard for the cause, prompting dialogue and garnering donations from curious bystanders.

Lane is just 18 months out of his own battle with prostate cancer. "I'm a young guy to have had [cancer] so this gives me an opportunity to open the dialogue about this and other male cancers", he says.

Over 700,000 men in the US are diagnosed with cancer each year. This translates to half of all men being diagnosed with cancer during their lifetime. However, men are less likely to be screened for cancer, meaning they usually catch cancer in its later stages. (Interestingly: men who live with a wife or significant other are more likely to get screened.)

The reason for higher cancer rates among men are numerous and complex, though it is largely attributed to the reluctance of men to openly discuss their health and what the Movember Foundation calls an 'it'll be alright' attitude. But groups are beginning to speak up and other male-driven movements--like the Testicular Tour in the UK--are organizing to push change.

When I asked Lane what style of mustache he was going for, he responded: "I've recently moved by to Texas so I'm rocking the serious Texas classic horseshoe mustache in all of its glory!"

Picture 1
Lynn Lane in October (left) and half-way through November (right).