Guts, intestines, bowels. Whichever way you say it, it’s all about digestion, elimination and waste. Our intestines, also known as bowels, are an integral part of the digestive system, processing all of the liquids and solids that we consume on a daily basis. All humans have a small intestine (small bowel) and a large intestine, which are responsible for a number of things. The bowels continue the work started by the stomach, further breaking down the food. The bowels are also responsible for the dispersion of vitamin K, amino acids and growth factors throughout the body, via the many bacteria that can be found there. The bowels are a complex and vital set of organs, that we can easily look after with a combination of nutrition, hydration and movement, but sometimes, things happen that are beyond our control.
Worldwide, bowel cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in men, and the second most commonly diagnosed in women. Unfortunately Australia holds the record for the highest incidence rates of bowel cancer, and it claims the lives of more men than women.
We all know that men aren’t big on talking about their health problems, and even less so when it comes to sensitive issues like the bowels. Men aren’t sitting at the pub, talking about the consistency of their stools, or how something ‘doesn’t feel right’ when they go to the toilet.
The risk of bowel cancer is largely determined by your lifestyle choices, but did you know that your risk is much higher if you have a family history of bowel cancer, or if you have a hereditary condition? Did you know that you can be proactive by testing for your genetic predisposition to bowel cancer? Total DNA Services offers the Genetic Predisposition Test, which analyses your unique DNA for a genetic predisposition to colorectal cancer, and 33 other genetic conditions.
The test reveals your risk of developing the disease, and also provides a risk assessment (high, medium, or low) of your developing colorectal cancer during your lifetime, comparing it to the rest of the population. This test is beneficial to people wanting an insight into their potential health future, and may help to alleviate worries associated with having a strong family history of a particular disease. Your personalised results can prompt you to take preventative action so that you minimise your risk of getting a genetically inherited disease.
Although bowel cancer is one of the top killers of Australian men, it receives 43.5% less funding than more well publicised forms of cancer, and receives no funding at all for specialist bowel cancer nurses. This December, you can pledge your support to your brother, husband, cousin or mate, by embarking on a hair-raising, beard-growing journey, commonly known as ‘Decembeard.’
Embrace your inner viking, become a hairy Hagrid, or channel Santa, and get growing!
Decembeard is not just for men, the less hirsute of us are also encouraged to embrace their inner hipster, by making a glorious beard to wear, and advocating that others join in or contribute to a fundraising event. All you need to do is set up an account, make a fundraising page, or host a beard themed bash to raise much needed funds for this terrible disease.
The Decembeard website has a wealth of information on how you can participate. You don’t even need to be hairy!
Total DNA Services will be avoiding razors all throughout December, and letting our faces become furry, to raise money for research into bowel cancer.