Members of the New Yerusalem Lodge #158 are spreading cancer awareness by growing out their facial hair this month.
The “No Shave November” event is taking place at AJ Styles Beauty & Barber Salon, 6624 W. North Ave. on Nov. 22. In partnership with no-shave.org, men are encouraged to come get a haircut, share in fellowship, and learn about health and wellness.
The men are growing their hair in solidarity with those who have lost theirs because of cancer. Donations to no-shave.org will go to fight colorectal cancer, St. Jude’s Research Hospital and the Prevent Cancer Foundation.
One of the organizers, Markell L. Mooney, got the idea for this event when he realized it was time for him to get a prostate exam. Many of the members at the lodge are in their mid 30s to late 50s, around the age men are suggested to get a rectal exam.
Mooney thought it was the perfect opportunity to talk about health and wellness as a community.
“There are so many deaths within the African-American community because of cancers like colon, prostate and pancreatic,” Mooney said. “We need to know what to do to be able to stay strong and maintain our positive spirits.”
Black men are 2.2 times more likely to die from prostate cancer than white men. There are several reasons for the higher mortality rate in Black men, according to Dr. Adam B. Murphy, an asistant professor of urology at Northwestern University.
Some of the factors include genetics, lack of access to healthcare and disparities in healthcare due to medical bias.
Dr. Murphy said it’s important to take preventive measures such as having regular prostate screenings starting at age 40, maintaining a balanced diet and decreasing alcohol intake.
Part of the issue is also medical mistrust or fear, which prevents people from going to see a doctor even when they feel sick.
“There’s something called John Henryism where people would prefer to think of themselves as strong and able-bodied and don’t want to be bogged down with the stress of being sick or unhealthy.”
Uninsured and underinsured Austin residents can get a free prostate screening at Loretto Hospital throughout the month of November.