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It's Decembeard time!

For the last four weeks or so, moustaches have been cropping up on faces all over the world for the month of Movember, in order to raise awareness and funds for men's health issues - specifically prostate and testicular cancer, and mental health.

Now that is over, it is time for men to turn their attention to their chins and grow - or do their best to cultivate! - beards for the eponymous month of Decembeard.

Similarly, this is in order to raise money and awareness, but on this occasion people all over the country will be pruning their facial hair creations in the name of bowel cancer.

In 2012, 750 people managed to raise £155,000. This year, the organisers hope the campaign will see 1,000 people getting involved in a bid to levy £145,000 of much-needed funds.

The money last year enabled expert nurses to answer a massive 5,000 enquiries from people affected by the condition, from patients and carers, to those who were worried about symptoms.

Despite the fact that bowel cancer is one of the most treatable forms of the disease when caught early, it is still the second most prolific cancer killer in the UK, highlighting the importance of campaigns such as Decembeard.

Those interested in finding out more information or getting involved can go to the official website of the initiative.

Earlier this year, research concerning the condition revealed that metabolic 'fingerprinting' of bowel cancer tumours - i.e. a process that looks at the levels of metabolites (products of the body's cell reactions) in a sample - could help to ascertain how advanced the disease is.

Senior author Lord Ara Darzi, the Paul Hamlyn Chair of Surgery at Imperial College London, explained: "We know that even with the impressive scanning technology we have available at the moment, it's not always possible to correctly ascertain the local stage of a cancer. Our study suggests that used alongside medical imaging, metabolic fingerprinting could enable us to gain more accurate information."ADNFCR-438-ID-801668352-ADNFCR

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