Movember: Call For Men's Cancer Support Groups

Movember: Call For Men's Cancer Support Groups

Campaigners have told Sky News they hope the record number of people supporting an annual cancer awareness appeal will help get more men starting their own support networks.

More than 160,000 men are diagnosed with cancer every year, including 40,000 who are told they have prostate cancer - and although there are hundreds of support groups for women, there are relatively few for men.

According to Movember, the campaign that encourages men to grow moustaches while raising funds, men are also less willing to talk openly with their friends.

Around 355,000 people have signed up to the appeal this year, with men growing and grooming a moustache throughout November to raise vital funds - more than £10.4m so far this year - for men's health.

Hywell Mills, Movember's sponsorship manager, said: "We've had a fantastic year so far, with 100,000 more moustaches being grown than last year, and the amount of awareness that generates, even before a penny is raised, cannot be underestimated. 

"We find it's a great conversation starter, especially as men aren't as comfortable as women in having these types of conversations.

"We work very closely with our men's health partners - Prostate Cancer UK, for example, runs peer-to-peer support networks and helplines for men to speak to dedicated cancer support nurses.

"But people need to be more aware of these services and they need to talk to their mates and their GPs as well. Creating these communities is something we're encouraging."

Neil Fox's father died of prostate cancer. The Magic FM DJ also wants to see more groups set up and said: "My dad was 76. He found out two years before. He had all the classic symptoms but he still didn't go to his GP. When he did go even the GP didn't recognise the signs."

In central London, a group of people, all of whom have been affected by prostate or testicular cancer, have already gathered to share their experiences with each other.

Stuart McGuire, 36, was diagnosed with testicular cancer in May this year. He is now in remission after undergoing chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

He said: "I remember being in the waiting room, waiting for the results. My wife came in with our baby and the doctor said: 'Stuart, you've got testicular cancer and it's spread up the the lymph nodes to your abdomen.'

"I thought, 'this can't be happening to me, this is happening to somebody else.'

"My wife was amazing and asked lots of intelligent questions but I just went into zombie mode."

Waldo de Vleeschauewer, who was also told he had the disease last October, said: "I was ignorant about cancer. I'm very active - I play squash and rugby and I thought it may have just been a sports injury.

"As guys you 'man up' and you get on with it. If something's bothering you, you just ignore it."

Movember originated in Australia but has now spread to at least a dozen countries worldwide.

Last year, 854,000 worldwide supporters raised £79.3m. In the UK, much of the money is donated to Prostate Cancer UK and the Institute of Cancer Research.

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