We’ve launched a men’s health campaign called ActionMan. Funded by Action Hampshire, it will encourage men to be aware of the signs and symptoms of cancer and contact their GP if they have any concerns.   


ActionMan has been launched in response to the results of 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.

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

The campaign aims to reach thousands of men through groups including Rotary, Masons and Lions; businesses; workplaces like the emergency services; sports clubs; and – when Covid-19 restrictions ease – face-to-face events.  The campaign also recognises the role many women have in encouraging male loved ones to speak to their GP if they feel something might be wrong and aim to reach this group too.              

ActionMan website

The ActionMan website includes:

  • Advice on some of the common male cancers and their symptoms
  • Opinions of medical professionals
  • Details of the support Wessex Cancer Support can provide
  • Videos from some famous faces
  • Information on how to get involved
  • Stories from local men who have been affected by cancer.  
Medical endorsement

Sally Rickard, Managing Director of the Wessex Cancer Alliance which brings together clinicians and managers from health, social care and other services to transform diagnosis, treatment and care for cancer patients, says: 

“This is a really important campaign to help encourage men to seek the advice they need for any worrying symptoms that could be a sign of cancer. We know that 9 times out of 10 it won’t be cancer but it is so much better to know that for sure and if you do need treatment, then catching the cancer early will lead to better outcomes. There are several ways you can also help to prevent cancer, such as taking part in bowel screening or asking for a PSA test if you are worried about prostate cancer. The NHS is here to see you safely and no one is wasting our time; it is what we are here to do and so please help us to help you.”

She continues:

“Our GPs across Wessex have all reported a drop in the number of people they are seeing with suspected cancer. This is concerning for them and us and so our message to you is simple – if you have a symptom that you are worried about, please contact your GP immediately. They are ready and waiting to help you. If it is cancer then getting that diagnosis early, could be the key to better treatment options as well.”

Paul’s Story

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 a doctor 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.”    

What we say

Launching ActionMan, Sally Hillyear, Wessex Cancer Support’s Head of Fundraising and Communications, said: 

“We know that men are more likely to get cancer than women, and 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 are 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.”

To access all of the ActionMan resources, click here

To get in touch with the team email matt@wessexcancer.org.uk

About Action Hampshire

Action Hampshire’s specialist knowledge in the community, voluntary and social enterprise sector spans almost 70 years. They aim to deliver services to local people and communities and speak up for the changes they would like to see and shape the future of where they live and work.