Canadian rockers the Sheepdogs are helping to bring awareness to men’s cancer this Movember.
Personally affected by cancer with drummer Sam Corbett’s own testicular cancer diagnosis and the loss of bassist Ryan Gullen’s father to cancer in the past year, the band are throwing their support behind the Movember campaign.
Sitting down with ET Canada, Corbett opens up about the stigma that is attached to having testicular and prostate cancers and Movember’s focus on early detection.
“Testicular cancer, and prostate cancer, they’re an intimate type of cancer to have, it’s a little bit embarrassing,” he explains. “I know when we first talked about it as a band, I didn’t want to say it was testicular cancer, and I think that ultimately that was a bad thing. It’s such an easy thing to check, testicular cancer and having that knowledge out in the public is so important.”
For Corbett, not getting checked out sooner was a mistake, as he admits his health was not his first priority.
“I noticed something and I thought, This feels strange, I should get this checked out, and I still waited a week. I mean, a week is not a long time, probably, but I still wish I had gone earlier,” he says. “Later on when I was choosing my treatment and I had to do radiation, I wanted to postpone the treatments so I could do those tours myself and I realized that it’s such a bad idea because my health had to come before anything else, or the band, it was just that important.”
Corbett had the support of his bandmates, who encouraged him to put his treatment first, even if it meant disappointing fans.
“We had never cancelled shows before ever in fifteen years as a band. Right away they were like, ‘You gotta take care of yourself first and don’t worry about these shows,'” he says. Now with a clean bill of health, Corbett is able to return to the stage.
“I was able to play every show this year, my energy levels are good,” he adds. “I did my one-year checkup and everything is all good and I think that’s an important message, too, if you catch testicular cancer early, it has a super-high survival rate.”
The Sheepdogs are showing their support for Corbett and Movember by getting a little less hairy. Say goodbye to the band’s beards. Corbett and Shamus Currie will grow moustaches for Movember while Gullen, who has not shaved since 2006, promises to shave his beard into a moustache if the band can raise $10,000 for Movember.
“Ryan has already said he’s going to sacrifice his beard if we raise a certain amount,” says Corbett. “I know Shamus is going to do the shave-down, he’s going to start from scratch, and who knows, maybe if we raise enough money, some other members will shave their beards as well.”