Let It Grow or Let It Go!

December is Bowel Cancer awareness month.  Also known as Decembeard, Bowel Cancer Australia’s hair-raising fundraiser is encouraging you to get hairy while raising awareness and funds to help beat bowel cancer.

Face, head, legs, body – if it’s hair – let it grow or let it go!

There’s lots of different ways you can contribute.  Get beardy or hairy (anywhere) – the options are limitless, and the choice is yours.

  • Grow a beard or some chin stubble and promote your facial hair
  • Dye, decorate shave or trim your precious hair and create something amazing
  • Fake some luscious locks or make a hair-inspired creation
  • Donate the amount you spend on shaving/grooming or by skipping your next waxing appointment

(Source: Bowel Cancer Australia)

Bowel Cancer Facts:

  1. Bowel cancer is the 4th leading cause of death for people aged 45-74
  2. 1 in 13 people will develop bowel cancer in their lifetime
  3. 15,000+ Australians are diagnosed with bowel cancer each year
  4. Bowel cancer is the 2nd deadliest cancer
  5. Detected early, 99% of bowel cancers can be successfully treated or even prevented
  6. Fewer than 50% are detected early
  7. Bowel cancer risk increases with age
  8. For around 30% of bowel cancer cases, there is a family history of hereditary contribution.
  9. The five-year relative survival for young Australians aged 15-24 diagnosed with bowel cancer is 87.3%.
  10. Of those diagnosed with young-onset bowel cancer, over 86% experience symptoms.
  11. Young-onset bowel cancers are often diagnosed at later stages.

(Statistics from Bowel Cancer Australia (February 2022))

Bowel cancer symptoms:

  • A recent, persistent change in bowel habits
  • A change in shape or appearance of your poo
  • Blood in the stools
  • Abdominal pain, bloating or cramping
  • Anal or rectal pain or bleeding
  • Frequent gas pain
  • A lump in the anus or rectum
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • A feeling that the bowel has not emptied completely after going to the toilet
  • Unexplained anaemia


Causes of bowel cancer:

  • Inherited genetic risk and family history
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Polyps
  • High red meat consumption, especially processed meats
  • Being overweight or obese
  • High alcohol consumption
  • Smoking

(Source:Cancer Council, 2022)

If you experience any of the above symptoms, visit your GP for testing – this may involve a blood test, colonoscopy, CT or MRI scan or an ultrasound.

How can you prevent bowel cancer?

According to Cancer Council (2019), your chances of developing bowel cancer can by reduced by no smoking, a healthy diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, limiting your consumption of red meat, avoiding processed meats an maintaining a healthy body weight.