If you’ve noticed an excess of facial hair on the men around you this month, you are not imagining this. It’s a real thing: many men are breaking up with their razors in November. But what does this increase in whiskers have to do with promoting men’s health, and how could moustaches possibly raise awareness for cancer?
For the past several years, November as we know it has been replaced by the charitable endeavors of Movember and No Shave November, two organizations which seek to raise awareness for men’s health issues, using the moustache to spark conversations about prostate cancer, testicular cancer and mental health. With one out of two men at risk for developing some form of cancer in their lifetime, it seems there can never be too much awareness.
Here at Cancer for College, we receive a fair amount of scholarship applications from young men who have survived testicular cancer. “This is largely a disease of young and middle-aged men, but about 6% of cases occur in children and teens,” states the American Cancer Society.
One of those young survivors is Michael Neri, who received a Cancer for College scholarship last year.
In 2005 Michael was 19 years old and finishing his freshman year of college when he was diagnosed with testicular cancer. Today, he is a healthy, third-year medical school student at the University of Maryland.
“I have really enjoyed getting to be in the hospital every day and work more closely with patients,” Michael shared recently. “There have been times when seeing a patient in a certain situation reminds me of being in the hospital, which I think helps me be more understanding and empathetic for their situation, and hopefully better able to help them.”
Michael himself looks back on his hospital experience as positive, despite the hardships of chemotherapy treatment. “I remember the kindness of the staff in providing me a DVD player to pass the time during chemo infusions. I remember my doctors checking in with me and keeping me informed about my test results and treatment plans. I remember the feeling of comfort and security my healthcare team gave me during a time of great insecurity. I realized then that I wanted to be a part of that team for someone else, and that realization lead me down the path to attending medical school.”
With such a positive outlook and a history of perseverance, we believe Michael will serve as an amazing inspiration to his future patients and families.
“Cancer provided a challenge that I could never have seen coming, but it also helped expose me to a life and career that I may not have found otherwise,” he says.
Michael, we wish you every success in the days to come!
Testicular Cancer Quick Facts
- It is most often found in young men but can occur at any age
- This type of cancer can be treated successfully and very often cured
- The lifetime chance of having testicular cancer is about 1 in 270
- The American Cancer Society highly recommends regular self examinations, to check for a lump, often the first sign of testicular cancer. Check out this link for more details.
If you have specific concerns about your health, please seek care from your doctor.