For some, November signals the start of a busy holiday season filled with festivities and shopping. For others, it signals the beginning of Movember and a chance to raise awareness of, and to reflect upon, the impact that cancer and mental illness has had upon the lives of men around the world.
Movember—the trend of men putting their razors down and growing mustaches —was started by The Movember Foundation in Australia in 2004 to bring attention to prostate cancer. The non-profit group challenged men to grow a mustache for the month of November and use their “mo’s” as a conversation starter to raise awareness and charitable funds for prostate cancer.
As the organization expanded, its mission grew to include testicular cancer, mental health and suicide prevention. In its quest to “stop men dying too young,” the organization has funded 1,200 men’s health projects since its inception, and currently boasts a membership of more than 5 million “Mo Bros” and “Mo Sistas.”
“At Such A Young Age”
Testicular cancer is the most common form of cancer among men 15-34 years old, with rates doubling in the last 50 years. The cancer is also gaining ground in the Latino community. In an article published on the American Cancer Society’s website it states that the rate of testicular cancer among Hispanic men is rising faster than that of non-Hispanic men. Although highly treatable it is just as deadly.
For Will Terrero, a 49-year-old financial analyst from Queens, New York participating in Movember is one of many ways he raises awareness of testicular cancer, a disease that once disrupted his life.
Terrero was 30 years old, working full-time and a part time MBA-student when he discovered a lump on his testicle through self-examination. Two weeks later, a doctor confirmed that the lump was a malignant cancer tumor.
Work and school were put on hold for six months while he received treatment for the disease. “I didn’t tell my family until I had undergone the first of two operations,” Terrero said. “I kept it quiet on purpose because I wasn’t sure how they would react, since this would be the first time someone in the family at such a young age had cancer.”
Terrero underwent an operation to remove the tumor at Winthrop University Hospital in Long Island. After doctors analyzed the tumor, they discovered he had an aggressive germ cell tumor. As a result, Terrero had a second surgery at Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital in which lymph nodes from his groin were removed.
Luckily, doctors caught the disease early enough to forgo any chemotherapy or radiation treatment. He continued to have regular follow-up appointments every month, and in late 2000 he was deemed cancer free.
In addition to participating in Movember annually, Terrero speaks with patients at Memorial Sloan Kettering about his experience and is part of the hospital’s running team which raises money for cancer research.