Men - don’t suffer in silence about cancer

Hannah Lumb.
Hannah Lumb.

How many men do you know who find it difficult to talk about their feelings? Chances are there are quite a few, so when it comes to dealing with a cancer diagnosis there could be a lot of men suffering in silence.

That’s why Macmillan has launched a new awareness campaign to encourage more men with cancer to ask for help. The ‘Just Say the Word’ campaign brings together partners from across the construction, home improvement and electrical sectors and aims to show men that it’s okay to talk about feelings.

The campaign has been triggered by data from our support line which shows that last year 124 women called for emotional support each day compared to just 54 men despite the fact that men are 22% more likely to get cancer than women. Those men who did call asked for practical advice such as how to claim benefits or manage pain.

Saying that, there has been some shift in male attitudes towards talking about emotions. In 2017 48 men from Derbyshire contacted our helpline to talk about psychological issues such as counselling or emotional support, compared with just 29 the previous year. However, these numbers are still very low, especially when you consider there were 3229 calls about psychological support from the Midlands as a whole last year, suggesting that men from Derbyshire could be more reluctant to talk about their feelings than those in neighbouring counties.

So, I’d like to say to all the men out there – you don’t have to suffer in silence. A cancer diagnosis can impact so many aspects of your life such as your health, finances and relationships and cause huge emotional strain. So it’s okay not to be okay. Macmillan has a range of cancer support services across the county that can help, like our Macmillan Cancer Information and Support Centre at the Chesterfield Royal Hospital. It offers a free confidential drop in service where you can offload whatever is on your mind, whether it’s how to tell your family you have cancer, deal with anxiety or if you just need a chat.

You can contact the information and support centre on 01246 516406 or email crhft.macmillaninfo@nhs.net. They’re open Monday to Thursday 0830-1630hrs and Friday 0830-1400hrs. Or you can call the Macmillan Support Line on 0808 808 00 00 (Monday to Friday, 9am–8pm) or visit our online community if you’d rather speak online www.community.macmillan.org.uk

If you’d like to support Macmillan and help us raise money so we can fund more services like this, contact me on M: 07458 087092 or E: hlumb@macmillan.org.uk