November 11, 2010

Moustache race raises awareness of prostate cancer

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Robert Matusik, Ph.D., gets his beard shaved off by Emma Harris so he can regrow a moustache to help raise funds for prostate cancer research. (photo by Doug Strand)

Moustache race raises awareness of prostate cancer

Dozens of men on the Vanderbilt campus have agreed to leave their razors on the shelf during November to raise awareness of prostate cancer and other forms of cancer that affect men.

They have started growing moustaches as part of the annual charity event dubbed “Movember.”

Movember was launched in 2003 in Melbourne, Australia, after a group of men joking about '80s fashions decided to grow moustaches as an excuse to raise funds for prostate cancer research.

Vanderbilt undergraduate students, led by the University's Interfraternity Council, were among the first to sign up for Movember.

At the Medical Center, members of the Department of Urologic Surgery are spearheading the whisker-growing competition. Faculty, residents and fellows have agreed to “grow and show” the whiskers on their upper lips to support the cause.

Robert Matusik, Ph.D., professor of Urologic Surgery, Cell and Developmental Biology and Cancer Biology, who normally sports a full beard, has already shaved so he can regrow a moustache.

“Growing the moustaches will help us raise awareness about prostate cancer, which is the most common cancer among men,” said Matusik, director of the Vanderbilt Prostate Cancer Center.

“Vanderbilt is a national leader in research and treatment for prostate cancer. Prostatectomy is the common treatment for early-stage prostate cancer and the Department of Urologic Surgery performs nearly 1,000 of these operations every year, making it one of the highest volume surgeries at the Medical Center.”

Other departments at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center have joined the competition, including Medical Oncology, where fellows and faculty have dubbed themselves the “Vandy Mustachios.”

This year's Movember event will raise funds for the Prostate Cancer Foundation and the Livestrong organization founded by cancer survivor and cycling champion Lance Armstrong.

Women who want to support the effort (Mo Sistas) also are encouraged to raise funds for men's cancer research and treatment projects.

For more information about participation and donations, visit