Calling all men and hard-working male carers out there:  Are YOU dying of embarrassment?

Warning: The easily offended should look away now!  Seriously, we’re talking about an important yet awkward subject.  Do bear with us.

Did you know that Monday 2nd September to Sunday 8th marks Orchid Male Cancer Awareness Week?

This is a well-established yearly event aimed at raising awareness of male cancers, not only directly to men themselves but also to those who love them. This fabulous charity will be promoting several events and campaigns to provide lots of useful information, advice and support.  Find out more about the charity here… https://orchid-cancer.org.uk/

In particular, this event will be highlighting three types of cancer only relevant to men – prostate, penile and testicular.

A Special Exhibition

If you live in London, you may wish to check out “One in four: A Photographic Exhibition” at the Brent Civic Centre until 18th October.  Back by popular demand and organised by Orchid, this show highlights the fact that one in four black men will be diagnosed with a male cancer during the course of his lifetime.

This is an amazing exhibition, and we’d urge you to visit if you can.

Why have an awareness week for male cancers?

Hmmm…well, let’s be honest here, and apologies if we’re a little bit gender biased. We have to be realistic. We’ve done some research.

Every year, 50,000 men in the UK are diagnosed with a male cancer.  That’s 5 men every hour.  A horribly high number.  Whilst most men know about breast cancer and most of the conditions known to womankind, statistics and anecdotal feedback show that many men don’t know that they should check themselves on a regular basis. And, may even be a bit squeamish to do so.

Mankind apparently not only lives in ignorant bliss, it would seem that doctor-avoidance is quite a Thing with a substantial proportion of men.

Come on, you know it’s (mostly) true.  Is this you?  Is this your partner?

The stigma associated with male cancers can mean that men may not follow up on symptoms as quickly as they should.  It doesn’t take a genius to work out that the sheer embarrassment of “putting things off” could literally mean the difference between life and death.

Don’t scare yourself, but have a look here if you want to check out some warning signs:

https://www.healthline.com/health/mens-cancer-early-symptoms

What Does Orchid Do?

Established 23 years ago, Orchid is the leading UK charity for those affected by prostate, testicular and penile cancer.  We love the fact that it was set up by a chap called Colin Osborne, a testicular cancer patient, and the doctor who saved his life – Professor Tim Oliver.  How amazing is that!?

Orchid’s sole purpose is to help save lives through a range of support, education and awareness services, as well as pioneering research programmes.  In effect, they’re all about promoting knowledge and understanding and here at Carers’ Support, we heartily endorse their approach and philosophy.

Education

Orchid publishes a lot of information about male cancers.  All their work is jargon-free and straight to the point, which is what all of us need.  They’ve also created www.yourprivates.org.uk, where you can find some useful video clips of healthcare professionals discussing various issues to do with this challenging subject.

Support

Orchid runs a helpline, 0808 802 0010

Research

Orchid funds a molecular biology and cancer genetics programme, focused on identifying new genes associated with the development of tumours, as well as something called the Orchid Tissue Bank, a collection of male cancerous tissues.  Whilst this might sound rather grim, this ground-breaking research is making enormous strides towards stopping male cancers from developing in the first place.

And What About You?

If you’re a male carer, have you thought about what could happen if you were diagnosed with cancer?  Perhaps you’re too busy even too consider your health, and we understand that totally.  However, your health is paramount and caught early, most male cancers are treatable.

If you’ve noticed anything untoward, DO get yourself checked out.

And, if you’re caring for your husband or partner, this awareness week is for you as well.  For example, establishing a once-yearly check-up routine could literally prolong your time together as a couple.  And yes, we know it’s an embarrassing subject but…hey, we’re getting over ourselves.  We’re sure you can, too!