Real Danger campaign

Blue September – what’s the campaign about?

Run by the Men’s Health Forum, Blue September is a campaign about men facing up to cancer.

154,000 men a year are diagnosed with cancer in the UK and 81,000 men a year die. Men in the UK are about 60% more likely to develop one of the cancers that affect both men and women, such as lung or bowel cancer.  Men are also about 70% more likely to die from one of these cancers.

But many male cancer deaths can be prevented through healthy lifestyle decisions and early detection.

Blue September is a campaign created to get the message out about cancer in men. It aims to raise awareness about all the cancers that can affect men. It urges men to take preventative action by improving their lifestyle choices and to seek medical advice as soon as possible if they have a worrying symptom.

The campaign is supported by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and other healthcare organisations.

“The earlier detection of cancer through pharmacy is one of our priorities, unusually in healthcare settings people visit pharmacies when they are feeling well giving pharmacists a big scope for early intervention. Results of an RPS clinical audit on lung cancer have shown that pharmacists have an important role to play in the early detection of cancer. Similar numbers of men and women presented with potential symptoms of lung cancer during the audit period. The relatively high proportion of men presenting with symptoms also reinforces community pharmacy as a point of access to health advice for men. Blue September offers the opportunity for pharmacists and their teams to play an important part in raising awareness by providing patient information about cancer in the pharmacy, talking to patients who exhibit symptoms and referring on to GPs if required”. Helen Gordon, RPS Chief Executive.

To find out more about men’s health and the Blue September campaign visit: www.blueseptember.org.uk

How can pharmacists help to improve men’s health?

At least one in three cancer cases is preventable. Thousands of men's lives could be saved by making healthy lifestyle decisions such as quitting smoking, reducing alcohol intake, taking care in the sun, regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight and eating a balanced diet.

Lives can also be saved if more men know more about the symptoms of cancer and contact a health professional as soon as they notice something worrying such as a lump or a nagging cough.

People visit pharmacies when they are feeling well giving pharmacists a big scope for early intervention.

Men seem reluctant to visit their GP but visit a pharmacy quite regularly to pick up life’s peripherals. Men can take advantage of their pharmacist and ask them for health advice while they are there.

The specific help that pharmacist can offer is

  • Face-to-face, non judgemental advice on general health and exercise
  • Practical help with stopping smoking
  • Dietary advice and nutritional information (including vitamins advice)
  • Help with sexual health
  • Practical advice and help when men encounter mental health issues
  • Help with minor sports injuries like cuts and bruises, sprains and strains
  • An increasing number of pharmacies offer healthcare advice in electronic form using special machines which can also undertake a range of diagnostic tests including blood pressure, diabetes, weight and cholesterol checks, heart
  • Repeat prescriptions – this removes the need for a patient to re-order their prescription from the GP every month

Pharmacists are experts in medicines and can play a significant role in the management of men’s health and medicine management.

Pharmacies are accessible and located on most high streets. The services are free and no appointment is needed. Those patients who do not attend GP or nurse clinics still collect prescriptions from their pharmacy. In addition pharmacies offer services when local surgeries are closed, including Saturdays and Sundays.

Pharmacists treat patients with complete confidentiality and many pharmacies have discreet consultation rooms for private advice.

Blue September

Campaign link

To find out more about men’s health and the Blue September campaign visit: www.blueseptember.org.uk

Some facts about Men’s Health

Men’s health is not nearly as good as it could be.

It is very well established that male life expectancy is lower than a female life expectancy. Men are less well informed about health than women and are more likely than women at all ages to develop most of the more serious forms of ill health. Research shows that men are reluctant to ask for help and only seek medical advice if they are very ill or in great pain.

42% of men die before the age of 75 and 22% die before they reach 65.

• Men are more likely than women to have a weight problem, to smoke, to drink alcohol at risky levels or to eat a poor diet. Men are also much more likely than woman to die from the two biggest killers – heart disease and cancer

• Men are particularly reluctant to ask for help with a mental health problem and are much more likely than women to kill themselves

• Men tend to seek medical help at a later stage than woman after the development of symptoms –they do not use advice and support services as frequently or as effectively as they might 

• Men are more likely than woman to develop a range of serious, disabling and potentially life threatening long term health conditions that are preventable and are more likely to do so at an earlier stage

• The average men can expect to be seriously or chronically ill for 15 years of his life

• Men are more likely than women at all ages to develop most of the more serious forms of ill health