Movember? No-Shave November? Address men's health with FSA funds

Take a look around – you can already see the fuzzy signs. Around the world, men of all backgrounds are banding together to raise awareness of the health issues that affect them most from prostate and testicular cancer, to seasonal depression and countless other concerns.

And they're doing it the best way they know how – by putting down their razors and addressing these widespread health concerns head on. Or should we say, face on, thanks to two separate but equally motivated charities, Movember, and No Shave November.

First, the original - Movember

Movember is the brainchild of two Australian friends who met in a bar, and whose families were affected by cancer. By the end of the discussion the seeds were planted to create a foundation that shed more light on prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental health and suicide prevention – just a few of the primary concerns affecting men's health today.

But rather than just create signs, ads and PR materials, the Movember movement draws awareness in the most organic way possible, by encouraging participants to simply not shave and to use their facial hair as a sign of solidarity.

Of course, there are rules. For starters, the "Mo" in "Movember" is based on one common spelling of "Moustache," and as such, your facial hair needs to be groomed in a way that highlights those manly, furry upper lips. Beards are welcome, but the idea is to accentuate the moustache, for a gentlemanly, well-coiffed call to arms.

To date, the Movember movement has raised countless millions for men's health causes around the world. Donations to the Movember Foundation can be made directly to their website, for either US-based or international charities.

No-Shave November

For the equally motivated, but less diligent among us, there's No-Shave November, a charitable cause founded by an eight-sibling Chicago family as a response to their father's struggle with colon cancer. To date, No Shave November has raised nearly $2 million since its 2009 inception, with widespread media coverage only increasing those numbers each year.

How do they do it? All they ask is for participants to donate whatever money they would have spent on shaving products during the month, with all money going to one of the many men's health-related charities highlighted on their website.

Unlike Movember, No-Shave November is a little more freeform. The only "rule" is that all participants begin with a cleanly shaven face on the first of the month, and begin growing their beards out together.

Though the message is critical, both organizations use this month to celebrate men's health, and happily post pictures of participant progress, as well as offering prizes for the most notable efforts. As you can imagine, some monthly growths are pretty impressive. Others? Well, not everyone is capable of growing a thick, lustrous beard in 30 days.

(But, at least their hearts are in the right place.)

And, lest we forget, EVERYONE is welcome to participate, not just men. So, give those blades a rest, one and all.

It's highly recommended by the American Cancer Society than men begin paying much closer attention to cancer risks after the age of 40 are regularly checked for cancer and general health needs. While your insurance plan may cover most, if not all your screenings and wellness visits, any costs not covered can be paid for with your FSA!

Using a tax-advantaged account, such as your FSA, doesn't just mean you need to stock up on men's health products for your medicine cabinet (though that's certainly one good way to use it). Instead, your FSA can also cover any health-related costs you incur from getting the treatments and screenings you need, including (but not limited to):

  • Meals and accommodations for extended stay treatments
  • Transportation to and from medical facilities
  • Supplies related to treatment
  • Education and conferences related to men's health
  • Much, much more

Don't try to be a hero or make excuses to put off your health for another year – get screened regularly for any and all men's health concerns.

More importantly, don't let finances keep you from staying on top of your health, in November or all year-round. There is no better use of FSA funds than preventive care, and has the widest selection of FSA-eligible products on the web.

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