Hair is the finished makeover medics have been given through their Movember efforts.
Ten consultants and eight junior doctors in Sunderland Royal Hospital’s urology department signed up to take part in the facial fuzz-growing efforts during November.
It helps us talk to them and helps to educate their friends and families.Consultant Stuart McCracken
The campaign has seen them raise cash which will be used to back testicular cancer research, but has also given them the chance to spark what could be potentially life-saving conversations with patients about all the conditions the team treat.
The effort has been led by consultant Stuart McCracken, who is also leading research studies through Newcastle University.
He said: “I’ve done it before, so I’ve gone for a straight-forward moustache brush, but my friends have gone for handlebars, one has a full beard, except for his chin like a 70s cop, and there are couple of goatees.
“We put the message up on the clinic board and we’ve been sponsored by friends and family as well as patients, so we’ve raised £400.
“But I think the big thing for me is it sets off a conversation.
“As a department, we back the work by Prostate Cancer UK, but we also explain we don’t just deal with prostate cancer, it’s all urological cancers, and it helps us with the issue of mental health, because it gives us the opportunity to say to men, ‘How are you dealing with your diagnosis?’
“It helps us talk to them and helps to educate their families and friends.
“We find people in the North East present late with their cancer and it’s a double whammy because we also have a high-smoking population, and both of these factors we can address, so we need to get that education on both these fronts.
“Our mortality rate is good once we respond to the cancer, but we can potentially improve both of these things, and early diagnosis is my passion.”
The department is responsible for treating incontinence, treats kidney stones, erectile dysfunction, haematuria, offers keyhole prostate surgery, helps men with infertility issues, and carries out vasectomies.
More details on the work of Prostate Cancer UK can be found via www.prostatecanceruk.org.