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MHF advises on football and cancer initiative

The MHF is working on a Football Foundation initiative to help local football clubs develop health information programmes about cancer and acreening services aimed at men.

Ahead of the Game is a twelve-month pilot programme funded by the Football Foundation and the Department of Health, in partnership with the Men’s Health Forum. The programme aims to use the power of football to raise awareness of the signs, symptoms and risk factors of bowel, lung and prostate cancer among men over 55.

The programme has four main objectives:

  • To target men, who are known to use primary health services less than women, in order to deliver key cancer awareness messages. Particular attention will be given to those from lower socioeconomic and Black and Minority Ethnic groups
  • To use the unique reach and appeal of football to deliver messages on bowel, lung and prostate cancer in a way to which men would be more receptive
  • To centrally manage five pilots at the Football Foundation. Pilots are to be based at Premier League and Football League club community schemes
  • To explore the use of match day or other types of campaigns which would increase bowel screening uptake in areas where the screening programme has been implemented as well as awareness-raising

In July 2009, five grants were awarded from the programme to support initiatives at Brighton and Hove Albion FC, Norwich City FC, Scunthorpe United FC, Blackburn Rovers FC and Portsmouth FC where the programme was launched in September 2009.

David Wilkins, policy officer for the MHF, said 'Football is a very powerful medium to convey targeted health messages to specific groups and our involvement with this work links in well with our broader activity around this year's National Men's Health Week, which explores the ways not only in which men can be encouraged to be more active but also how the power of sport can be harnessed to engage with male audiences'.

Page created on April 1st, 2010

Page updated on April 19th, 2010