Rapides Regional Medical Center is hosting its fifth No Shave November to raise awareness of men’s health issues and raise money for patients of the Rapides Cancer Center.

This year, men and women of all ages may participate thanks to a new component.

In the past, men were asked to forgo shaving for the month of November. We are still asking them to do so to call attention to the need for men to receive regular health screenings.

The Centers for Disease Control reports women are 100 percent more likely than men to visit the doctor for annual exams and preventive services.

Most men should begin receiving regular screenings for prostate cancer at age 50 and new guidelines call for colon cancer screening at age 45, although a family history of cancer could cause a need to begin screenings at a younger age. In addition, men should receive annual wellness screenings to help prevent other medical conditions from forming or causing more serious damage.

Now, women and men who don’t want to grow facial hair have a way to participate. Rapides Regional Medical Center has “Buy a Beard” cards available for a donation to the Rapides Regional Auxiliary Cancer Fund. The cards allow the donor to write the name of a family member or friend who has battled cancer, or is currently battling cancer, on them. They can then be displayed on the donor’s place of business or work.

No Shave November begins on Thursday, Nov. 1. Post a picture of yourself to Rapides Regional’s Facebook page, or tag it at #RapidesNoShave. On Friday, Dec. 1, post another picture with your facial hair. That’s it.

Rapides Regional Medical Center is asking all men who grow a beard to donate $10 to the RRMC Auxiliary’s Cancer Fund to help patients of the Rapides Cancer Center. To donate, go to rapidesregional.com, look for the No Shave November banner, and click on a link to the Central Louisiana Community Foundation’s giving page. A link may also be found on Rapides Regional Medical Center’s Facebook page.

To inquire about the “Buy a Beard” cards, (318) 769-3140.

All money raised is donated to a fund to assist patients of the Rapides Cancer Center. In the first four years, more than $15,000 has been raised thanks to the participation of such organizations as the Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office, Alexandria Police Department, Pineville Police Department, Louisiana College baseball team, LSU of Alexandria athletics and students at Alexandria Senior High.