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Men need to be Aware: 7 - Raising Awareness of Symptoms

by monty2011 on 13 April 2011

In December 2009 my partner and I armed with our web-site www.prostatecancercheckitout.me.uk and the Direct.gov list of UK local Councils decided to contact all 434 Council by e-mail. Our initial aim was to request them to display our  poster in all public and workforce urinal areas in order to enlighten men with what they may see as tolerable minor waterworks problems, that they may not be minor and should be investigated.

Our poster that can be down loaded from the "Raising Awareness" page of our web-site simply advises men with symptoms that are common to prostate cancer to get them checked out by their GP. It took two months to send out the requests, some Councils responded supportively, some with further queries, many didn't respond. The support came in various ways. Some Councils no longer had public conveniences under there control, so offered other means of getting our message across, others as well as displaying our posters also used other means as well. These included, linking our web-site to the Council's web-site, placing our message on the Council's intranet and placing articles in the Council's door to door publications. We updated our web-site to include more down load material and these other methods of spreading awareness. A month later another 434 e-mails were dispatched, to thank some Councils, encourage others and attempt to get responses from those who had so far failed to respond. The support increased. On top of responding to incoming e-mails, at four month intervals two more rounds of e-mails were dispatched.

The current picture is that 185 Councils that is 42% are supporting our project, we are still awaiting decisions from a further 143 Councils and sadly 95 Councils have still failed to respond. Only 11 Councils have so far rejected our project most because they are running their own prostate cancer awareness scheme, but the remaining few Councils, through talking to their health partners have other reasons for not supporting our project. These include :- If you screen 100 men you might only find three men who have prostate cancer, if you screen men you will raise anxieties in men who have not got prostate cancer, we only deal with professionals and charities, we do not have the funds. We have come across these arguments many times whilst building our support and our answers which have convinced most is - Firstly,we are not advocating screening, we are aware of the current testing problems, though having said that we are not happy about the position that puts the three men in that could be found in every hundred. We know our project has short comings also, as we will not pick up men until symptoms are apparent, on the plus side we know we are alterting some men, as although we don't request feedback we have heard from men who have now been diagnosed with prostate cancer and also from men who have been successfully treated for other ailments as a result of getting checked out. Secondly, we would not be spending months of our retirement life progressing this project if the professionals and charities had listened to us and done it themselves and thirdly Patricia and I like to go out, we go out locally and touring and whilst out we may call in pubs, clubs and restaurants, when we do we seek out the landlord or manager and request them to display our posters. In one such pub after we had made our request the landlady said "What about the women" I must have looked puzzled as she continued saying "Who is going to get the man to get seen to, the women need to know the symptoms also" This comment introduced a further poster for down load from our web-site. The manager in a local club accepted the posters for display and later in the evening came to our table and requested us to go on stage and make a prostate cancer presentation, we were taken by surprise but we did it. At the end of the evening the manager gave us the £121 raffle takings. With half this money we bought a laminator, pouches and sufficient paper to produce over 400 posters to enable us to extend our local work to included relevant businesses. It made us realise that with £60 we could raise awareness all over a town, how much should it cost the Council to place posters in their public and workforce areas.

Patricia and I can only scatter the seeds hoping that others will grow the awareness, please visit our web-site, down load our posters and visit facilities in your area to see if management will support our aims to raise awareness of prostate cancer symptoms, in order to reduce the number of men that die through becoming aware too late. Thank you

 

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The prostate disease bloggers

Grahamn278 was referred to a urologist with a high PSA in 2008 and prostate cancer was confirmed

monty2011 knew there was a problem with his prostate when he started needing to go to the toilet more often

AgedTenor is 64, loves singing and geology, and was alerted to his prostate cancer by a raised PSA test

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