The Mayor of Truro was one of thousands of men who grew a moustache this November to raise awareness of cancers that affect men.
He had no idea that in a cruel irony he would himself be diagnosed with a life-threatening disease in the same month.
The Movember charity encourages men across the world to grow a moustache every November to raise awareness of prostate and testicular cancer.
The mayor, John Tamblyn, took part in the project for the first time this year but was then diagnosed with the disease at the heart of the campaign.
“On November 22 I heard that I had cancer of the prostate,” he said.
“I have to have an MRI scan to see how developed the cancer is - that will determine if I have the prostate removed or have radiotherapy.”
Mr Tamblyn, 60, was first found to have a bladder tumour in August which was removed in September. It was as a result of follow-up tests that the prostate cancer was discovered.
The mayor originally went to his GP after spotting blood in his urine. He retired two years ago from a career in the clinical micro-biology department at the Royal Cornwall Hospital and was well aware of the importance of an early diagnosis.
He said: “My biggest shock was the blood in the first place. There was a sense of relief when they said it was a superficial bladder tumour.
“But the blood tests showed there was something wrong with the prostate.”
Princes House asked Mr Tamblyn to join in their Movember campaign and his moustache was dispatched by Mitch Hill of Butlers in Newquay at an event that raised more than £375 for the campaign.
“I started growing it before I had the diagnosis - the irony has not escaped me,” he said.
Mr Tamblyn’s wife, Sharon Eustice, is a nurse consultant in bladder and bowel care.
Mr Tamblyn said: “She is coping well with it. She has her moments but she is a very strong woman.”
The mayor plans to continue with his duties for the rest of his term which ends in the first week of May.
“I’m born and bred in Truro so it’s a great honour to be mayor,” he said. “If I have to have the prostate removed I might be incapacitated for a week or two but now I’m just carrying on with everything.”
The Prostate Cancer UK charity said more than 400 men were diagnosed with prostate cancer in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly every year.
Mark Bishop, director of fundraising at the charity said: “The fact that Mr Tamblyn was himself diagnosed with the disease during the month demonstrates why Movember is so important. We applaud his efforts and wish him well for his recovery.”