Northern Ireland’s leading, local cancer charity, Action Cancer, has launched its annual men’s health campaign ‘Action Man’ asking men across Northern Ireland to pay more attention to their health.
The male cancer awareness campaign aims to encourage men to take care of their general health and to highlight awareness of the signs and symptoms of male specific cancers, such as testicular and prostate cancers.
Action Cancer is offering men free health checks during the month of June and is working in partnership with the Men’s Health Forum, a national charity dedicated to supporting men’s health by spreading awareness of men’s health issues.
Together they are challenging Northern Ireland’s men to ask the key question “How are you doing?”
There is certainly a need to ask this, as men, in Northern Ireland, experience a disproportionate burden of ill-health and die too young.
• Local men die, on average, four and a half years younger than women do.
• Males have higher death rates than women for all of the leading causes of death.
• Poor lifestyles are responsible for a high proportion of chronic diseases.
• Late presentation to health services leads to a large number of problems becoming untreatable.
Josh Mulligan, Action Cancer’s Male Health Promotion Officer explained why the health checks are being offered:
“Every year in Northern Ireland there are approximately 4,426 men diagnosed with cancer1 – that’s 12 men every day. Although men are 14% more likely than women to develop cancer, they are 37% more likely to die from the disease2. Poor lifestyle choices, such as eating an unhealthy diet, taking less exercise, and a reluctance to discuss personal health matters could be contributing factors in this. By not monitoring their health, men are at higher chance of not detecting cancer or other serious conditions at an early and, hopefully, more treatable stage.
It is estimated over half of all cancers could be prevented with the right lifestyle choices, such as eating a healthy diet, taking regular exercise, not smoking, drinking alcohol responsibly and being safe in the sun. Our MOT health checks present men with a snap shot of their general health, which can empower them to make more positive lifestyle choices in the future.”
The free M.O.T. health checks incorporate a number of assessments including blood pressure, cholesterol, blood glucose and body composition analysis, as well as giving lifestyle advice and information on testicular, prostate, lung and bowel cancers. These checks do not diagnose cancer but aim to increase awareness of current health and the importance of early detection.
Leonard Brereton, a survivor of prostate cancer advises, “I am now six years cancer free and my message to other men is this- don’t die of ignorance. Don’t think you are invincible. Cancer can strike at any time, it’s important to know your body and present any unusual symptoms to your GP as soon as you spot them to increase your chances of survival. I’m glad I went to the doctor when I did. It doesn’t bear thinking about what could have easily happened to me if I had continued to ignore my symptoms.”
Over June, the M.O.T. health checks will be available on Action Cancer’s Big Bus and at regional Men’s Health Clinics across Northern Ireland.
Colin Fowler, Director of Men’s Health Forum Ireland said: “The goal this year is to help more men take action to address their health problems, but also to get more services in place that are designed to work for men.”
The work that Action Cancer does to highlight male health issues through its Action Man campaign prompts men to stop and think about their lifestyle and how to make informed choices to improve their well-being and reduce their risk of cancer and others serious illnesses.”
Men’s MOT health check appointments are also available on board Action Cancer’s Big Bus, supported by SuperValu and its independent retailers, which travels throughout Northern Ireland. Men can book an appointment online at www.actioncancer.org or call 028 9080 3344.