We’re continuing our series of highlighting special health awareness events in November after last week discussing American Diabetes Awareness Month. Though Colon Cancer Awareness month is actually in March, it has additional publicity in November due to the “No-Shave November” campaign.
What is “No-Shave November?”
The event has been a long-standing tradition, but it was not until 2009 that it officially began as an initiative to raise money and awareness for cancer. It was organized by the Hill family who’s eight children lost their father, Matthew Hill, in 2007 to colon cancer. Together these siblings created the No-Shave November 501(c)(3).
As is tradition, the No-Shave November campaign is as simple as it sounds with participants encouraged to not shave during the month of November as a way to raise awareness for cancer with the main goal of using facial hair to spark conversation. The organization has raised over half of a million dollars this year so far.
Is this event only for colon cancer awareness?
While popularly associated with colon cancer, the campaign has also been used to raise awareness for prostate cancer as well as other types of cancer. In general, the main purpose of the campaign is to start conversations around cancer as a way to encourage people you care about to receive the screenings they need.
Why should I receive a screening for colon cancer?
According to the CDC “every year, about 140,000 Americans get colorectal cancer, and more than 50,000 people die from it.” Unlike some other forms of cancer that have visual indicators, it can be extremely difficult to know you have colon cancer without proper screening. There are a few symptoms that patients can experience, but they could also be signs of other medical conditions, thus this is something you will want to discuss with your medical provider.
Screening is particularly important for those over the age of 50 with the CDC saying risk increases with age. More than 90% of patients diagnosed with colon cancer were 50 years of age or older.
What can I do to lower my risk of colon cancer?
The CDC recommends a few basic tips to follow to help lower your risk of colon cancer:
- Receive a screening if you are over the age of 50
- Be physically active
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Avoid drinking too much alcohol
- Don’t smoke