Nov. 1 (Bloomberg) -- Movember, a global cancer campaign that encourages men to grow moustaches in November, has a record number of registrations this year driven by the growth in users of Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc.
“When we started in 2003 Facebook had just launched,” said co-founder Justin Coughlan, as the campaign starts today. “Forms of social media such as Twitter and Facebook are becoming more and more important to us in spreading a message. We want to get men talking about their health.” Movember raised 79.3 million pounds ($127.8 million) in 2011 for male cancer charities, 29 percent more than in the previous year.
Chef Jamie Oliver, U.K. radio broadcaster Chris Evans and actor Stephen Fry are among celebrities taking part. The Qantas Wallabies, Australia’s rugby union team, yesterday unveiled a Boeing 737 aircraft sporting a giant moustache, according to the team’s website. Comedian Ricky Gervais, actor Daniel Craig, Formula one driver Jenson Button and soccer player Peter Crouch all grew moustaches last year.
South African Anton Taylor won international man of Movember last year, for growing a thick handlebar moustache and upper body hair designed by two art students. The campaign, designed to raise awareness of male cancers and increase early detection and treatment, is themed ‘Movember and Sons’ this year with fathers and their sons encouraged to grow moustaches together and compete for the Moscars.
“At the moment we have 140,000 registered in the U.K.,” Coughlan said in a phone interview. “That’s double the number at the same time last year. The signs are looking good, we’re hoping to be bigger.”
Since 2003 the charity has spread from Australia to South Africa, Europe and North America. About 854,000 people took part in 2011, more than double the number in 2010, with the U.K. topping the table for entrants and Canada raising the most money, some 25 million pounds. More than 250,000 men in Britain grew moustaches last year, helping to raise 22.3 million pounds.
In 2010 there were 10,721 deaths from prostate cancer in the U.K., according to Cancer Research U.K. There is a lag of about 18 months in compiling the data, according to the organisation. In the U.S. an estimated 241,740 new cases of prostate cancer have been reported so far in 2012 and 28,170 deaths from the disease have been recorded, according to the National Cancer Institute.
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