After months of planning, the first ever International Men's Health Week arrived in England and Wales today. Jungle Queen Linda Barker and tennis ace Pat Cash today joined forces with the Men's Health Forum and the Orchid Cancer Appeal to launch the Week. The former Wimbledon favourite had a health make-over at Ladbrokes' brand new flagship store as he and Linda served up a volley of support for making good health more accessible to men of all ages. Click here for pictures.
The Forum's Men's Health Week launch press release in full follows (or click here to visit the Forum's virtual press office and download a PDF of this and all the other Men's Health Week press releases):
Ladbrokes, Edgware Road, London, London, 9 June 2003: Jungle Queen Linda Barker and tennis ace Pat Cash today joined forces with the Men's Health Forum and the Orchid Cancer Appeal to launch National Men's Health Week (June 9-15 2003). The former Wimbledon favourite had a health make-over at Ladbrokes' brand new flagship store as he and Linda served up a volley of support for making good health more accessible to men of all ages.
The state of men's health is a national problem. Men still die at an average age of 75 and face major health risks that can be prevented and treated if they are diagnosed early. The aim of Men's Health Week is to raise awareness about the health of men and to stop men gambling with their health by ignoring problems and delaying seeking treatment.
Research shows that men welcome health information presented in a way they find familiar and easy-to-use, like the new Haynes Man Manual - a unique health book that looks like a car manual and offers a no-nonsense, step-by-step guide to fault finding and fixing. As supporters of the week, Ladbrokes are distributing around 40,000 copies of an abridged version in stores across the country in a special toolbox for sexual health.
Linda Barker said: "I know it sounds like a clichÃ©, but the older I get the more I realise that my own health and well-being is one of the most valuable things in my life. Clearly I'm not alone in that as most of the women I know feel exactly the same way. Men, however, are always just that little bit slower on the uptake. Any initiative or campaign that makes people think about how they look after their bodies is always very welcome, but one aimed particularly at the boys is long overdue."
Although men's health is about much more than good tackle, the state of male sexual health is particularly worrying and that's why it's the focus for the Week in 2003 . For example, the incidence of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and prostate cancer is expected to double over the next 20 years. Moreover, 10 per cent of men experience erection problems at any one time and young men often remain unwilling to use condoms.
Pat Cash said "Men's health has always been important to me as my career has depended upon my fitness. I have supported The Orchid Cancer Appeal for as long as it has been established because it underlines the fundamental reasons why Men's Health Week is important — don't be embarrassed to seek medical help if you think there may be something unusual or wrong with your health. What is wrong can be sorted but it won't be if you don't get help - so don't leave it too long!â€
Men's Health Forum's President Dr Ian Banks said: "Men's health is still unnecessarily poor and too many die too young or suffer unnecessarily. National Men's Health Week provides the perfect opportunity to encourage men to take better care of their own health and to show what action the Government, the NHS and others must take to bring about the improvements that are urgently needed. The state of men's health is currently a major public health problem and it's time it was tackled effectively.â€
Dominic Harrison, Ladbrokes Commercial Director said: "The toolboxes are a great idea and present men with information in an easy to understand format. But why is a bookmaker getting involved in men's health? A lot of our customers on the high street are men of all ages, and through our network of shops we can play our part in communicating this important message.â€
Many men continue to lack knowledge of sexual health and sexual health services. Just one in eight men knows what the prostate gland does, for example, and one in five believes it is located in the testes, according to research by the Prostate Cancer Charity. Men's Health Forum research shows that just one man in 10 is aware of his lifetime risk of developing prostate disease.
Many men are far too reluctant to ask for help from a doctor or nurse when they notice something is going wrong. Men who find a lump in a testicle, for example, usually take over three months to see a doctor even though they might have testicular cancer.
Colin Osborne, Founder and President of the Orchid Cancer Appeal said "Men's health issues are a subject I feel passionately about having been diagnosed with testicular cancer in the 1990s and nearly dying from it through my reluctance to visit my GP. Men need to be more aware of their health and what they need to do to look after themselves. National Men's Health Week is a fantastic idea aiming to bring male health issues out in the open. Too many men are embarrassed about seeking medical help — I am a classic example of how it was nearly too late, so please make sure you don't ignore what your body is telling you.â€
There is still much to be done to improve men's health but there are increasing signs that the health services — as well as men themselves — are now interested in taking action to improve the quality, and the length, of men's lives.
Devised by leading charity the Men's Health Forum, the campaign is held annually in the week leading up to Fathers' Day. The Forum encourages action at all levels — from a partnership that includes the Government, the NHS, other health organisations and, of course, men themselves.
Director of the Men's Health Forum, Peter Baker, added: â€We know that most men are interested in their health and will ask for advice or information if they feel comfortable with the service being offered. So health services must change to provide the kind of services men are more likely to use. This means more confidential telephone advice lines, GP surgeries that open in the evenings and weekends, and clinics in the workplace or even in pubs, clubs and sports venues.â€
Last week, the Men's Health Forum presented a report on men's sexual health to the All Party Group on Men's Health at the House of Commons. The report demonstrated the need for a change in policy to help men to better health and included a section on improving sex education for boys.
National Men's Health Week also aims to encourage local health organisations to launch practical initiatives to improve the sexual health of men. This year some 600 men's health events will take place across the country, twice as many as last year.
Page created on June 9th, 2003
Page updated on December 1st, 2009