A campaign for men

Wessex Cancer Support has launched a men’s health campaign called ActionMan. It encourages men to be aware of the signs and symptoms of cancer and to contact their GP if they’re worried. 

ActionMan is funded by Action Hampshire and endorsed by members of the Wessex Cancer Alliance,

ActionMan has been launched in response to a study carried out by a group of junior doctors in Hampshire. It found that:

  • 43% of men would feel discouraged from talking about worrying changes to their body for fear of ‘making a fuss’
  • 23% would be too embarrassed to discuss any concerns they may have

Many men delay seeing their GP because they’re frightened about what they might find out or don’t know how to talk about changes to their body.

ActionMan aims to reach thousands of men through groups including Rotary, Masons and Lions; businesses; workplaces like the emergency services; sports clubs; and – when Covid restrictions ease – face-to-face events. It also recognises the role loved ones have in encouraging the men in their lives to speak to their GP if they feel something might be wrong and so aims to reach this group too.

Paul started experiencing pain when he was 19 but ignored it for almost 15 years

“As a typical bloke, I didn’t like to think there was anything wrong with me so I tried to put it out of my mind. Also, the thought of being examined by my GP petrified me. By the time I was 34, there was a sizeable lump and my wife made me go to the doctor. Luckily, everything was fine but I wish I’d gone sooner. I get that blokes don’t want to go to the doctor. Generally, we’re fixers and have this pressure to act like there’s nothing wrong all the time. But we have a stark choice, don’t we? Accept that we might have to endure a few minutes of feeling a bit awkward, or risk if we don’t, we may not be there for our families and mates in the future.”

Sally Hillyear, Wessex Cancer Support’s Head of Fundraising and Communications says:

“We know that men are more likely to get cancer than women, yet this group makes up just 20% of the people who ask us for support. We’re launching ActionMan because it’s really important for men to be aware of the signs and symptoms of cancer and take action if they’re worried about any changes to their bodies. We also want men to help their mates and loved ones by making it ok to talk about things. The idea behind the campaign really is as simple as that, but it could make a huge difference.”

Read what health experts say about ActionMan

Photo of Harry Redknapp used with kind permission of Matt Hardy Photography