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It’s time to get beardly serious about bowel cancer

Every day, on average 8 New Zealanders are diagnosed and 3 will die from bowel cancer. During December alone 250 of us will be diagnosed with bowel cancer and 100 will die from this disease, now that is something to get serious about.

This December we are encouraging men to grow a beard as a quirky way to start conversations about bowel cancer and to raise funds for Bowel Cancer New Zealand (BCNZ). Registrations are now open at for our annual hair-raising fundraiser, so give your razor a rest and sign up for the challenge from December 1st to 31st.

BCNZ general manager Rebekah Heal says, “Bowel cancer is curable in more than 75 percent of cases if caught early. We hope men will show their support and grow a beard, helping to raise much needed awareness and funds for a disease that kills as many of us as breast and prostate cancer combined – and it can affect anyone at any age.

“Bowel cancer affects both men and women almost equally, but we know men are not as proactive about going to their GPs and therefore more likely to sit on their symptoms. Decembeard offers the chance for men to talk about a serious disease in a fun and humorous way.”

This year BCNZ also has some ideas for women so they can get involved, help spread the word and raise funds. It is a great time of year to throw a beard-themed pre-Christmas party or sign up for a hair-raising adventure. Also you could ‘Eat to Beat It’ - have a beard-themed dinner party, ladies lunch, brunch or afternoon tea.

Heal says, “We encourage men and women to get involved this year so fewer people will die of embarrassment and more lives will be saved. 100% of funds raised from Decembeard will be used by BCNZ for awareness, education, research and to support people living with bowel cancer.”

To register to participate in Decembeard™ or donate, visit:

BCNZ encourages open discussion about bowel cancer with medical professionals and avoiding ‘sitting on your symptoms’. Symptoms include:
• Bleeding from the bottom or seeing blood in the toilet after a bowel motion;
• Change of bowel motions over several weeks that can come and go;
• Persistent or periodic severe pain the abdomen;
• A lump or mass in the abdomen;
• Tiredness and loss of weight for no particular reason;
• Anaemia.

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