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Ditching the razor for a good cause

No-shave November is in full swing. How does the month of awareness help with physical and mental health for all?

FORT SMITH, Ark. — If you see more facial hair during the month of November, it might not just be due to the cooler weather or hunting season. Many men around the world and here at home grow out their mustaches and beards all for a good cause.

In recent years, November has become known as 'No-Shave November' or 'Movember'. Using the extra hair as a conversation starter to help bring awareness to men's physical and mental health especially when it comes to cancers impacting men.

Doctor Kyle Basham is a urologist with Baptist Health in Fort Smith. During the month of November his self-proclaimed "face broom" makes a come back helping spark those much-needed conversations with patients.

"I'll have patients who may only see me once a year and they'll say, 'oh, where's your mustache?' You know, they remembered the mustache from the year before and it was gone when they saw me the next time," says Dr. Basham.

As a urologist, Dr. Basham sees men for specific reasons but knows November typically means deeper talks that can make an impact all year long.

"For men's health of all kinds, prostate cancer, testicular cancer awareness, even, you know, men's sexual health," said Dr. Basham. "Just generally speaking, get the men in your life to see a doctor."

However, the No-Shave November organization urges everyone to take part in ditching the razor.

"We value all hair, all the time to help all sorts of people," says Sara Svendsen, executive director for No-Shave November.

Since 2009, the organization has helped raise more than $13 million for various non-profits aiding in the research, prevention and treatment of cancers impacting all.

"It's a very scary topic and it can be very hard to talk about and something you might just want to put off and try to pretend it doesn't exist, but the best way to beat cancer is to catch it early," explains Svendsen.

Giving up the razor or a month of haircuts is just a small way to help start the conversations that could ultimately help save a life. Svendsen, the entire No-Shave November team, and doctors want everyone to know just how important regular health screenings can be. Even if going to the doctor starts with a little extra hair.

If you are interested in pledging to help support cancer awareness in November, you can sign up by visiting the No-Shave November organization or snap a photo of your hair and tag them on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

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