Stephen’s ‘be brave, don’t shave’ success

Stephen Hassall from St Andrews.

Stephen Hassall from St Andrews.

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Growing a beard has never been so in vogue and 30-year-old Stephen Hassall from St Andrews joined Bowel Cancer UK, to encourage even more men to lay down their razors in December.

It’s a cause close to Stephen’s heart, as he is still being treated for bowel cancer.

30 year old Stephen Hassall from St Andrews joined leading cancer charity, Bowel Cancer UK, to encourage even more men to lay down their razors in December.

30 year old Stephen Hassall from St Andrews joined leading cancer charity, Bowel Cancer UK, to encourage even more men to lay down their razors in December.

Stephen, who lives in the Denhead area, said: “I was diagnosed in September 2014 with an advanced aggressive form of bowel cancer which had spread throughout my liver.”

Stephen was on the hunt for a job and was attending interviews in Cambridgeshire when he was hit with symptoms that led to his ultimate diagnosis.

“Eventually they discovered it was bowel cancer. My treatment so far has involved 17 cycles of chemotherapy, which has been very successful, with the primary tumour shrinking 80 percent and four of the secondary tumours shrinking to the extent that they no longer appear on scans.

Stephen is currently undergoing chemotherapy but was proud to have taken part in the cancer awareness campaign. He said: “I first heard about Decembeard when I received an email about it. Because I’m still going through treatment, I did it a little differently by documenting the loss of my hair and beard with a photograph each day.

He also wants people to realise that cancer can hit anyone at any age: “I had a lot of symptoms consistent with the disease but didn’t put it all together.

“I was told by one doctor that the blood I noticed when going to the toilet could be from piles/haemorrhoids and that I did not fit the age bracket for anything more sinister. That’s why I’d like to raise awareness that bowel cancer can happen to younger people.”