Monday 17 December 2012

It's a new month – but things are hairier than ever

After a month of growing moustaches for Movember, men across the county are now being asked to increase their facial fur for another hairy charity challenge – Decembeard.

Participants are sponsored to grow a beard this month, with the money raised going to the charity Beating Bowel Cancer.

People will be able to share photos of their progress online.

Women and children can also take part by wearing a fake beard.

The aim of the initiative is to increase awareness of bowel cancer and help to break down the stigma of talking about the disease.

Edouard Spoone lost his wife, Heather, to bowel cancer in October last year, and he is growing a beard for the challenge in her memory.

Heather was just 35 when she died, having been diagnosed in September 2009, two weeks after the couple's wedding.

Edouard, a 39-year-old computer programmer, of Whetstone, is planning to grow the biggest volume of facial fuzz he possibly can for the challenge, and hopes to raise £500.

"I was devastated when Heather was diagnosed with bowel cancer and when she passed away in October last year I was determined to help prevent others from having to go through the same pain," he said.

"We really need to stop people losing their life to the disease, so I'm taking part in Decembeard to help the charity raise awareness and support those who are battling bowel cancer.

"I took part in Decembeard last year with a group of friends which was good fun.

"We raised lots of money, although the beard did become itchy towards the end of the month!

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Tuesday 11 December 2012


KEVIN Sheedy was famous for finding a way through some of the best defences in the world in his days as an Everton and Republic of Ireland midfielder.

No opposing defender was too strong for him as he plundered 77 goals in 314 games during a decade of success with the ­Merseysiders. He still has that battling spirit and has just ­beaten the toughest opponent he has ever faced – cancer.

The 53-year-old is back at work as an Everton Academy coach after surviving a bowel cancer scare last summer.

It’s a disease that can hit ­anyone and claimed the life of Daily Star chief sports-writer Brian Woolnough in ­September.

Sheedy’s world was turned upside down just before his second marriage in July, when unusual bowel movements prompted him to seek medical advice.

He said: “My bowel ­habits became irregular. I was on the toilet a lot more – my wife joked that it was costing us a fortune in toilet rolls!

“I had bleeding from my ­bottom and, after seeing and hearing ads about it, I decided to see my doctor.

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Diet and colon cancer link

High GI linked to worse colon cancer prognosis, according to new research.
Food pyramid
Even once a person has been diagnosed with colon cancer, their lifestyle and behaviour could have an effect on the outcome – patients have been found to have higher risk of recurrence and fatality if they have unhealthy diets, according to preliminary research from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in the US.
Lifestyle choices such as physical activity, weight and age are known risk factors for bowel cancer (also known as colorectal cancer). But up until now, however, no one was certain whether diet – specifically glycaemic load and carbohydrate intake – was also an influence on a patient’s outcome.
Bowel cancer affects parts of the large intestine – usually the colon or rectum – and there appears to be no hereditary aspect to the disease. Symptoms include changes in bowel habits, rectal bleeding, anaemia and possibly unexplained weight loss.
Observing more than 1,000 stage III colon cancer patients over a period of more than six months, the researchers questioned the patients on their dietary intake before, during and after their chemotherapy treatment. They looked specifically at glycaemic load, glycaemic index, fructose and carbohydrate intake and their relationships with mortality and recurrence related to the colorectal cancer.

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Monday 10 December 2012

Taking aspirin every other day ‘cuts cancer risk by more than 40%'

  • Harvard researchers found that even a very low dose of the painkiller drastically reduces the odds of bowel and stomach cancer
  • They think it may take several years for aspirin’s beneficial effects to ‘kick-in.’

TAKING aspirin every other day cuts the risk of certain cancers by more than 40 per cent, according a study.

Harvard researchers have found that even a very low dose of the painkiller drastically reduces the odds of bowel and stomach cancers.

Women who took one 100mg tablet every other day were 43 per cent less likely to get bowel cancer and 36 per cent less at risk of stomach cancer, after a period of 20 years.

Recently a number of studies have shown that a daily dose of aspirin drastically cuts the risk of developing cancer, and of tumours spreading once diagnosed.
But until now it was not known whether the pills had similar, preventative effects when taken less frequently.

Although aspirin has been dubbed the wonder drug as it protects against heart attacks, strokes and cancer, it also causes stomach bleeds and ulcers in some patients.
Taking a low dose of the drug every other day however would mean such patients would be less likely to succumb to these side effects.

Researchers from Harvard University and Brigham and Women’s hospital in Boston, the US, looked at the records of 39,876 women over 45.

UK lagging behind with bowel cancer drug test

More than 60% of patients with advanced bowel cancer have not been tested to find out if they could benefit from a drug which might extend their life, research claims.

In France 89% of people with the disease were given the KRAS biomarker test, as were 73% of Spanish bowel cancer patients. But the UK is lagging behind with just 44% being given the blood test to discover whether they would be helped by taking cetuximab - the drug marketed as Erbitux.

Without the £120 test, patients cannot be given the medication, which in some cases can increase life expectancy.

Researchers funded by Merck Serono, which manufactures Erbitux and refunds trusts for the cost of the tests, compared information about more than 4,200 patients in the UK, France and Spain.

Dr Harpreet Wasan, a consultant medical oncologist who led the study, said the number of patients being given the procedure needed to rise to make sure they were receiving the right treatment.

He said it was important to know someone’s KRAS status so they could be given life-extending medication if it was shown it was likely to help them. And he added that the test was also useful in identifying those who would not benefit from the treatment so they would not waste time taking the drug and suffering from potential side-effects unnecessarily.

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Tuesday 4 December 2012

When it comes to colon cancer checks, options exist

(Reuters Health) - For people who have had a negative colonoscopy, less-invasive screening options may work just fine for follow-up cancer tests, a new analysis suggests.
"No one screening test is right for everyone," lead researcher Amy Knudsen, from the Institute for Technology Assessment at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, told Reuters Health in an email.
The findings, which are based on a mathematical model, showed life expectancy varied by only a few days between people who continued getting colonoscopies every ten years and those who chose annual fecal blood tests and other less-invasive alternatives.
"The best test for you depends on your risk, your preferences, and which screening approach you are willing and able to adhere to, since no screening is effective unless it's done," she added.
"Patients should talk with their doctors to decide which test is best for them."
Knudsen's team fed colon cancer screening and survival data into a National Cancer Institute (NCI) model, starting with hypothetical study participants that had a negative colonoscopy at age 50.

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THE Beating Bowel Cancer organisation would like you to sport a beard and join their communities of ‘Beardys’ raising money to beat bowel cancer together.

The campaign aims to break down the stigma of talking about bowel cancer and increase awareness of the disease.

There are many ways to get involved – like growing a beard, getting your friends to sport fake ones for the day or have a beard bake-off.

Sign up, get your mates involved and become ‘Beard Buddys’ to start the race for a prickly face!

For more information about Decembeard or to register, go to


Bowel cancer can be successfully treated in over 90 per cent of cases if it is diagnosed at an early stage. The early symptoms of bowel cancer are very similar to other much less serious problems with the bowel.

But it’s important to be aware of what is normal for you, so you can recognise unusual changes.

It is important to see your GP if you have been experiencing any of these symptoms for three weeks or more:

- Bleeding from the bottom

- Persistent change in bowel habit

- A pain or lump in your tummy

- Feeling more tired than usual for some time

- Unexplained weight loss

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