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Monday, June 14, 1999 Published at 12:06 GMT 13:06 UK


Purple ribbon cancer campaign launched

Nurse Jane Deville-Almond is seeking out patients in pubs

A charity is encouraging men to wear a purple ribbon to increase the amount of money spent on cancers that affect them.

BBC News' James Westhead: Men less likely to discuss health problems than women
Tenovus, a Cardiff-based fundraising charity, says only a fraction of the cash spent tackling women's cancers such as breast and cervix cancer is spent on prostate and testicular cancer.

Tim Evans, their marketing manager, said: "This is the equivalent of the Pink Ribbon Campaign to raise breast cancer awareness.

"The campaign is all about self-awareness. It traditionally takes men a lot longer before they get their health checked out."

There are around 150,000 cases of male cancers diagnosed every year.

[ image: How to spot testicular cancer]
How to spot testicular cancer
The purple ribbon campaign is not calling for a prostate cancer screening programme, but for money to be spent on publicity campaigns encouraging men to check their bodies regularly for signs of cancer.

The campaign is not the only recent initiative highlighting the gulf between the approach to male and female cancer.

One Birmingham nurse, finding men unwilling to come to her clinic, took her clinic to them - in the pub.

Jane Deville-Almond said: "Perhaps we want to look at places like pubs, bars, the workplace, betting offices and the racetrack, places where men do go socially, where they feel at ease and comfortable.

"Their blood pressure doesn't go up because they have smelled any antiseptic lotion."

The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) survey said that the vast majority of men between 15 and 34 know little or nothing about testicular cancer.

The number of cases has doubled in the last 20 years, and it is now the most common form of cancer in young men.

Only 26% of men surveyed said they knew a great deal or a fair amount about testicular cancer.

Less than half (49%) of those in the 15-34 age bracket said they ever examined their testicles for lumps.

Supermarket chain Tesco is planning to sew labels into men's underwear explaining how to check for testicular cancer.

[ image: Dr Ian Banks says men are too embarrassed to talk about health]
Dr Ian Banks says men are too embarrassed to talk about health
Professor Colin Cooper, of the ICR, said: "This research reinforces the urgency there is for more widely available information, for an environment in which men feel more relaxed about personal health matters and in which they are encouraged to take prompt action where necessary."

Dr Ian Banks, from the British Medical Association, said that unlike women, men found it awkward to chat about their health.

"They see themselves as a head on top of a machine, and find it very difficult to talk, particularly about emotional or sexual issues to their peers."

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