Decembeard for Bowel Cancer Australia
December is Decembeard for Bowel Cancer Australia. It’s a hair-raising fundraiser held during the month of December that encourages men to grow a beard to raise awareness. It also raises much needed funds for bowel cancer.
Did you know that bowel cancer is Australia’s second biggest cancer killer? That’s why Decembeard is so important. Above all, Decemberard’s goal is to have an impact on our health future where no one dies of bowel cancer. Also, for all those diagnosed, to receive the support they need.
Bowel cancer and men – the facts
- 1 in 11 Australian men will develop bowel cancer.
- Bowel cancer affects men of all ages. The risk increases every year from age 50.
- Around 55% of all Australians diagnosed with bowel cancer are men.
The choices you make in regards to diet, lifestyle, screening and surveillance can influence your bowel cancer risk. As you can change these risks, they’re called ‘modifiable’.
Increased age, personal and family history and hereditary conditions can also influence your bowel cancer risk. Because these risk factors cannot be changed they are referred to as ‘non-modifiable’.
The impact of bowel cancer and men
- Bowel cancer is the third deadliest cancer in men.
- Bowel cancer kills more than 2,300 men each year. 240, (10%) are under age 55.
- Each year more than 8,000 men are diagnosed with the disease.
- Approximately 1,037, (15%) of those men diagnosed with bowel cancer are under age 55.
Bowel cancer and men – prevention
In the early stages bowel cancer often has no obvious symptoms. However, any of the following may be suggestive of bowel cancer:
- Persistent change in bowel habits.
- Change in appearance of bowel movements.
- Blood in stools or rectal bleeding.
- Unexplained tiredness, weakness or weight loss.
- Abdominal pain, especially if severe.
- A lump or pain in the rectum or anus.
Most men who develop bowel cancer have no family history of the disease. However, having a close relative such as a parent or sibling with bowel cancer can increase your risk of developing cancer.
It is advisable to see your GP for individual advice about bowel cancer surveillance or screening.
Screening and Surveillance
Bowel Cancer Australia recommends participating in screening appropriate to your personal level of risk.
Medical guidelines recommend screening using a faecal immunochemical test (FIT). For people at an average risk of bowel cancer screening should take place every 2 years from the age of 50.
However, if you have one relative diagnosed with bowel cancer at age 55 years or older, screening should take place every 2 years from age 45.
This December, help Bowel Cancer Australia raise awareness for our second biggest cancer killer. Firstly, start a conversation with your friends and family. In addition to talking to your doctor, know your modifiable and non-modifiable risks. Finally, by making certain lifestyle changes new research has shown that one in three bowel cancer cases in men could be prevented in the next 10 years
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