Voluntary Sector: Cancer body urges men to check for early signs

Cancer charity Everyman is hoping a new 'light-hearted' awareness campaign will encourage men to check for early signs of the disease.

The charity, which is part of the Institute of Cancer Research, concentrates on 'male cancers' such as prostate and testicular, and its 'Check 'em' initiative is the first time it has run a major campaign in this way.

A website at www.checkem.com has been set up, and more than 100,000 newly produced DVDs containing advice, information, interviews and celebrity endorsements have been placed in the August editions of Men's Health and FHM.

The DVD and website were produced by sponsorship and fundraising agency St James's House. Agency director Gary Wordon said the idea behind the campaign was to promote 'a serious educational message to men in an accessible and entertaining way'.

The DVD features an introduction from comedian Jimmy Carr, sketches from TV series The Office, jokes and competitions. It also contains interviews with cancer scientists and a 30-minute drama.

The campaign has lined up coverage in the national press, and corporate sponsor Halifax will send out 50,000 of the DVDs with the next edition of its newsletter.

Wordon said one of the messages behind the 'Check 'em' campaign was to stress that testicular cancer in particular was preventable, and had a 99 per cent survival rate if caught early.

The campaign has also set a £50,000 fundraising target, which it aims to secure through corporate sponsorship. Halifax, Standard Life, Sony and Virgin Radio have already been signed up as donors, as have some police forces, fire services and other organisations with large male workforces.

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