Christine Liaw, MD, smiles as she holds a hand-drawn handlebar moustache up to her petite face – she isn’t actually growing facial hair for No-Shave November, but the message it sends is compelling to her.

“In some ways, cancer awareness is more important than actively treating a disease. The more aware people are of the early signs and symptoms, the better we can catch something early or even prevent it,” said Dr. Liaw, a urologic surgeon and director of endourology for the Hartford HealthCare Tallwood Urology & Kidney Institute in Bridgeport.

She is one of a handful of Tallwood providers participating in No-Shave November, a national event that encourages men to stop shaving their faces to raise awareness around prostate cancer screenings and prevention. While many cancer patients lose their hair, this month celebrates it growing wild and free.

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Here are five things that the Tallwood Men’s Health team wants men and the people who love them to know during No-Shave November:

5 things to know during No-Shave November

  • More than 60% of new prostate cancers are diagnosed in men over the age of 60
  • A family history of prostate cancer and being Black increases the risk of prostate cancer
  • About 30,000 men will die of prostate cancer each year, making screening for early detection super important
  • Screening is as simple as a blood test and all men ages 55 to 69 should get an annual PSA test
  • To discuss your risk of prostate cancer and schedule a PSA test, start by talking to your primary care provider

> Related: Five Common Misconceptions About Prostate Cancer, According to a Urologist

Easy way to help

Ryan Dorin, MD, chief of urology at The Hospital of Central Connecticut, has participated for several years as a way to raise attention around men’s health issues in general.

“These often don’t receive enough attention, especially from the men themselves!” Dr. Dorin noted.

While his wife is okay with the facial hair – “unless I shave it to a handlebar moustache!” – he said people take notice of the change in their appearance as the month goes on, which is the goal.

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Lasting message

The doctors both agree that the message they want people to take away from No-Shave November is the importance of keeping up with screenings and routine healthcare.

“Don’t wait for things to get serious before seeking help,” Dr. Liaw said. “We’re always happy to help and get to know you for the long run!”

Dr. Dorin agreed.

“Prevention is the key to good health, which includes being screening for prostate cancer, as well as taking care of your weight and blood pressure,” he said.