Testicular cancer is the most common cancer amongst young men, but the majority of 18-34-year-old men aren’t aware they’re at risk. This April, three young jockeys have set about changing that.
A lot of young men may not have known that this April is testicular cancer awareness month. That’s exactly what Charlie Bishop, Oisin Murphy and Tom Marquand want to change.
In this short video, they’ve stripped off in the weighing room to raise awareness and check themselves for the disease. The bold move is designed to show young men just how simple it is to check for the cancer — all it needs is a quick check in the shower!
Supported by the Movember Foundation, the athletes hope that they can be part of a wider movement to normalise conversations surrounding male health. Oisin Murphy, who helped launch a partnership between Movember and the QIPCO British Champions Series, said:
‘there is always a lot of banter, but it can sometimes be hard to really talk to people about the serious health issues that affect men. We know to our cost that mental health issues, in particular have affected many in racing, so I think this is a brilliant partnership which will hopefully bring some of these things out in the open and help people get the support they need’.
The fact that many young men are unaware of this particular health risk is indicative of a social climate in which many men feel reluctant or unable to discuss their wellbeing. We’re well aware of this issue when it comes to mental health, but many men struggle to discuss their physical health too. In this particular case, it isn’t just that men don’t feel comfortable talking about their health problems, it’s that many are simply oblivious to the risks they might be facing — it seems this an educational problem as well as a social one. I certainly wasn’t taught about testicular cancer at school, and I’m sure I’m not alone. Campaigns such as this do a great job of raising awareness, but as Tom Marquand says:
‘it’s shocking to think that almost two-thirds of 18-34 year old men don’t know that they’re in the most at-risk age group for this disease’.
If we are to be successful in raising awareness of these issues, it would appear our education system must play a greater role in supplementing the great work that charities such as the Movember Foundation are doing. It’s not just schools, either. Despite receiving regular emails from my university about both wellbeing and charity initiatives, I was completely unaware that it was testicular cancer awareness month. Schools, universities and employers all need to play a greater role in promoting these initiatives if they’re going to be successful — how can we expect men to discuss their health if they simply don’t know about the issues they might be faced with?
However, as young men we have an opportunity to take the lead here, just as Charlie, Oisin and Tom have done. Perhaps this is an area where social media can be of some help. By engaging with these campaigns online, we’re able to use platforms like Facebook and Instagram as a force for good, and make sure they have a positive impact on our wellbeing. The more men engage with these initiatives, the more men feel comfortable talking about the issues which concern them.
We all have a responsibility to help each other out and encourage a positive and open attitude towards our health. Reminding a mate to check themselves regularly goes a long way, and sharing an online initiative only takes a few seconds. If you want to know more about testicular cancer, and how to check for the disease, there’s plenty of information here. The Movember Foundation also supports more than a thousand other movements and initiatives that aim to ‘enable men to live happier, healthier and longer lives’ — you can join the movement here.
And next time you have a shower, remember to check yourself!