No-shave November: Are you growing your moustache to raise awareness around cancer this month?

A full beard and moustache in November are an unmissable sign that you care enough to support cancer research and treatment for those who can’t afford it.

Myupchar November 04, 2019 12:28:57 IST
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No-shave November: Are you growing your moustache to raise awareness around cancer this month?
  • The idea of Movember, of course, goes beyond sporting a shiny moustache and latest beard-styling fashion

  • Hair loss, as we all know, is one of the more visible side-effects of chemotherapy

  • A full beard and moustache in November are an unmissable sign that you care enough to support cancer research and treatment for those who can't afford it

The earth has completed another circle around the sun, and Movember is back. Get-set to see more beards and moustaches in the office, at the airports and in the malls.

The idea of Movember, of course, goes beyond sporting a shiny moustache and latest beard-styling fashion. The month is dedicated to raising awareness about cancer (especially cancers that affect men - such as prostate cancer and testicular cancer) and encourage men all over the world to donate the money they would otherwise spend on shaving to cancer charities.

Noshave November Are you growing your moustache to raise awareness around cancer this month

Representational image. Image source: Getty Images.

What does facial hair have to do with cancer, you ask?

Hair loss, as we all know, is one of the more visible side-effects of chemotherapy.

And as symbols of support go, a full beard and moustache in November are an unmissable sign that you care enough to support cancer research and treatment for those who can’t afford it.

Effects of chemo

Chemo drugs can’t differentiate between the body’s healthy cells and cancer cells. They just follow one rule: wherever they see a cell dividing quickly into two, they kill that cell. During this process, healthy cells that normally divide fast - such as blood-forming cells, hair follicles, cells in the mouth, gut and reproductive system - also get killed.

The after-effects of chemo may vary from patient to patient, from cancer to cancer and from drug to drug. However, the American Cancer Society mentions a few expected side-effects that appear in most cases:

  • Fatigue
  • Hair loss
  • Bruising and bleeding tendency
  • High chances of infection
  • Anaemia (low red blood cell counts)
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhoea
  • Pain and soreness in the mouth, tongue and throat
  • Numbness, tingling, and pain due to damage in nerve and muscle 
  • Dry skin and change in nail colour 
  • Changes in urine and bladder
  • Weight changes
  • Loss of concentration and focus
  • Mood changes
  • Changes in libido and sexual function
  • Fertility problems

Usually, the side-effects are short term but any damage to the heart, nerves or reproductive system as a result of chemotherapy could last longer.

Chemotherapy takes both an emotional and physical toll on cancer patients. Earlier this year, writer-director Tahira Kashyap was diagnosed with breast cancer. In one of her posts, she wrote: “That's what you do when it shows up, show it the way out! I believe if an obstacle comes your way, it is for you to beat the sh*t out of it & become a better version of yourself, which is a bit worn out but experienced, tattered but more wise, handicapped but better equipped!”

A lot of unpleasant things can happen after a chemo appointment. However, knowing what to expect after chemo drugs could help to make some experiences a tiny bit easier for a loved one fighting cancer.

Moustache money

Chemotherapy is often necessary to limit cancerous growth - at least until personalised medicine and gene therapies for cancer become a lot more advanced. Because of its potential side-effects, physicians and surgeons thoughtfully weigh the pros and cons.

To be sure, some patients need monetary help to get chemo and some others just need moral support. Movember is designed to show both. If you wish to donate your Movember/No-shave money towards cancer research, visit the Tata Memorial Centre website here, or the India Cancer Society website here.

Health articles in Firstpost are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health. For more information, please read our article on Prostate Cancer: Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment.

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