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Raise Funds to Beat Bowel Cancer This December

Decembeard® – Raise funds to Beat Bowel Cancer in Australia

Have you heard of Decembeard®? December’s the fundraising month for Decembeard®, which is now in its 7th year. It’s a fundraiser to raise awareness for bowel cancer which is Australia’s second-biggest cancer killer.

How Does Decembeard® Work

No-one likes to talk about bowels let alone bowel cancer, even though it can be deadly. But it’s now time to start talking. The Decembeard® fundraiser asks Aussie men to grow a beard to raise funds that go towards beating bowel cancer. Women can also join in by encouraging their male loved ones to grow a beard, or by making a fake beard for themselves.

man with large beard

How to Reduce the Risk of Developing Bowel Cancer

Growing a beard this December is a great incentive to raise awareness and funds to help fight Bowel Cancer. Although bowel cancer affects many Australians, there are some steps that you can take to reduce your risk of getting it.

By making positive modifications to your diet and lifestyle choices, as well as screening for bowel cancer, can reduce your risk of getting it. So many people don’t get enough exercise, but did you know that by being physically active you can reduce your risk of developing colon cancer? There are many ways to increase your physical activity. Consider leaving the car at home and walk to work or to the train station. Or enjoy a brisk walk with your dog in the afternoons. A weekend cycle is always enjoyable too, and you might discover a new place that you’ve never seen before.

Also, according to Bowel Cancer Australia, you can reduce your risk of developing bowel cancer by having a diet that’s rich in whole grains, fibre and calcium. There are also foods that you should avoid. Red meats, processed meats, and excessive alcohol all increase bowel cancer risk.

Another lifestyle factor that increases bowel cancer risk includes being overweight or obese. Working hard to get that waistline down will help to improve your overall health and wellbeing and decrease the risk of getting several cancers including bowel cancer. If you’re struggling with your weight, consider making an appointment with your G.P. to discuss further weight loss options.

Furthermore, the other lifestyle factor that can increase the risk of many cancers is cigarette smoking. Far fewer people smoke than once before, but the rate is still too high with 1 in 8 adult Australians smoking cigarettes daily. If you need help to quit smoking, call the QUIT line on 13 7848.

Bowel Cancer Screening

Bowel Cancer Australia offers home bowel screening tests. You can arrange a test online or you can call 1800 555 494. The home test is called a faecal immunochemical test (FIT) and is an effective way to reduce bowel cancer risk. It works by detecting blood in the faeces. How does this work? Well, people with bowel cancer often have no signs or symptoms in the early stages, but small amounts of blood that you can’t even see may leak from cancerous growths into the faeces. The FIT test can detect this, and it’s well known that early detection is key to a good prognosis with 98% of early detected bowel cancers treated with success. The FIT test is part of the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program.

What Causes Bowel Cancer

Although there are steps that you can take by modifying your lifestyle to reduce the risks of developing bowel cancer, the exact cause of bowel cancer is still relatively unknown. There are certain, unchangeable risk factors that make the likelihood of developing bowel cancer higher. That’s why regular screening is so important.

According to the Cancer Council, people who are over 50 years of age are at increased risk of bowel cancer. Also, people with a strong family history and rare genetic disorders have increased risk. “Bowel Cancer Australia” recommends that you get tested from 45 years old, every 2 years if you have a family history of bowel cancer.

Moving on, inflammatory bowel diseases turn out to be risk factors for bowel cancer. For example, if you have Chron’s disease or ulcerative colitis your risk increases.  Also if you’ve had a colonoscopy and polyps were detected, this increases risk also. That’ why polyps are typically removed when detected.

If you have any concerns, signs or symptoms of bowel cancer, make an appointment with your G.P. to discuss further. If you’re receiving aged care support services, and are struggling to get to the doctor, ask your home care coordinator to arrange transport for you. It’s really important to have a consultation with your doctor as soon as possible.

Signs and Symptoms of Colorectal Cancer

The most obvious sign of bowel cancer is blood in the faeces, but this is often undedectable to the naked eye. That’s why bowel screening is so necessary. If you do have visible blood in your stools or you’re experiencing rectal bleeding, go to your doctor.

The Mayo Clinic also state to look out for changes in bowel habits such as diarrhoea or constipation. And if you have persistent abdominal pain or discomfort, you should seek help.  They also say to look out for unexplained weight loss, fatigue and weakness.

How Can You be Involved

Now that there’s some understanding of bowel cancer and how it impacts on Australians, Decembeard® is a great way to help fight it. Some of you might not be in a position to grow a beard this December. But not to worry. You can make a donation, support a friend or get your workplace involved.

For those who have no problem with growing a beard, sign-up for Decembeard® today! Get your friends and family to support your beard growing journey and ask your supporters to dig deep into their pockets to meet your fundraising goals. And most importantly, spread the word and get others to jump on board and get serious about fighting bowel cancer together.


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