As a blogger I get sent a number of press releases every week and usually I take a quick glance through the content then file it into a subfolder in Gmail called Press Releases then forget about them. Very occasionally, like with restaurant openings, I will drop an email back to the PR to see if they are having a launch party or offering review opportunities. Last week however I received one that not only did I read every word of but I’m now going to tell you a little bit about just because I want to.
You’ve no doubt all heard of Movember, a charity drive where for the month of November men everywhere grow moustaches in aid of prostate cancer but have you heard about Decembeard? It’s a similar campaign where men are asked to either grow (or decorate the beards they already have) to raise money and awareness of bowel cancer. It seems as though I’m the only girl on the planet who doesn’t really like a guy with facial hair (sorry but I just prefer the clean-shaven or slightly stubbly look personally!) but this is a cause I can get behind so I’ll make an exception for December.
If you follow me on social media it’s no secret that I’ve had a pretty tough time when it comes to my health this year. I had a particularly bad flare up of my ulcerative colitis between March and June which luckily steroids were able to help sort out but I’ve also been having more problems which the doctor assumes has been brought on by stress since being made redundant last month which are hopefully *fingers crossed* getting back to normal now.
These two things might seem unrelated but they’re not I promise. Having IBD puts me at a much higher risk of getting bowel cancer than most and it’s been my biggest fear ever since being diagnosed. Even more so than potentially having to get a colostomy bag one day – at least that would relieve my pain rather than cause more of it. Others with an increased risk are those with familial adenomatous polyposis or Lynch syndrome, those who’ve had cancer before and those with a family history of bowel cancer. That said anyone can get it and with over 40,000 diagnoses and 16,000 deaths in the UK from it every year it’s the fourth most common cancer here and worth remaining vigilant about.
The most obvious symptoms are bleeding from your bottom or blood in your poo and changes in your bowel habits like going to the loo more often or looser stools. This leads to the biggest problem that stops people from getting diagnosed early and that’s embarrassment. I’ve lived with my condition for years now so I’m pretty open about talking about poo and what not with my family and even some close friends and when it comes to doctors well all my shame has well and truly gone and I just tell em like it is! They’ve seen and heard worse, I promise – so please don’t be too embarrassed to go to the doctors if you’re worries. Early detection is key as more than 90% of cases can be treated successfully if it’s caught early enough.
I know December is already an expensive time of year with Christmas but if you’d like to make a donation in lieu of buying me a Christmas prezzie this year it would be greatly appreciated!
*Many thanks to my awesome friends
for letting me include pictures of their bearded mugs!