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Male cancer awareness scheme launched

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A new scheme to educate men about the risks of ‘male’ cancers is being launched today by health secretary Andy Burnham.

The new one year DH pilot initiative Ahead of the Game - Organise Your Defence will use the appeal of football to improve men’s knowledge of the signs and symptoms of lung, bowel and prostate cancers. The scheme is aimed at men aged 55 and over, who are most at risk of dying from these cancers.

The Football Foundation, with £86,000 funding from the DH, will run the pilot scheme to raise awareness of these symptoms in a variety of ways including nurses giving out information and free health tests at matches and community road shows.

Launching the project at Portsmouth Football Club, Health Secretary Andy Burnham said:

“Currently over 60,000 men get these cancers every year - that’s enough to fill the average football stadium twice. By raising awareness of the symptoms and making earlier diagnoses, we can improve the chances of survival. Ahead of the Game is a fantastic initiative which will use the massive appeal of our national game to raise awareness of cancer and help save lives.”

Chief Executive of the Football Foundation Paul Thorogood said:

“Men are still, all-too-often, unaware of the early signs and symptoms of cancer and uncomfortable about seeking help at an early enough stage.

“Football has proven to be an extremely effective vehicle to reach very large audiences. In this case, to get the message to high risk groups, such as men over 55, about what the early signs of cancer are, and how essential it is that they should present themselves to their doctor as early as possible to improve their chances of beating it.

“This unique partnership between football and the Department of Health will go a long way towards reinforcing the understanding of what to look for and to ensure that men stay Ahead of the Game on cancer.”

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