Male Health News March 2016
Men’s Health Week 2016: Mental Health and Wellbeing
Men’s Health Week is on 13th – 19th June this year, and will focus on mental health and wellbeing. Reducing stress, staving off anxiety or depression, or seeking help when needed are vital issues for men. Too often we are liable to ignore mental health issues, and fail to ask for support or information when we could most use them. We’ve written about some of these issues on our blog previously, so do have a read to find out more.
The annual week of events is organised by the Men’s Health Forum. More information will be available on their website and you can sign up here to be kept up to date with developments and announcements. Why not get involved and do something really positive for you and your fellow men?
Want to quit smoking? A complete break offers best chance of success
As reported by BBC News, a study funded by the British Heart Foundation worked with almost 700 volunteers in England who were aiming to stop smoking. The researchers split the volunteers into two groups, one where participants were encouraged to stop smoking gradually, and the other where they were encouraged to quit immediately. The results, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, showed that after six months 22% of volunteers had quit smoking from the ‘immediate stop’ group, while only 15.5% had quit from the ‘gradual stop’ group.
BBC News quoted the study’s lead researcher, Dr Nicola Lindson-Hawley: “The difference in quit attempts seemed to arise because people struggled to cut down.” She also emphasised that it was still better to cut down on cigarettes than take no action.
(20th March 2016)
Chloe Smith MP and the ESA: our take
A number of supporters have asked us over social media this week whether Chloe Smith MP should remain our patron. This follows her recent vote in favour of reducing the Employment Support Allowance (ESA). We appreciate this issue has been very controversial, and has caused a lot of division and debate.
After long consideration, we (i.e. the Trustees) have decided that we neither condone, nor condemn, this vote, because as a charity we must remain focused on our charitable objectives. We have a focus on promoting the wellbeing of men, and have no remit on benefits issues. As much as it is tempting to become involved in wider debates (and we have varying personal views on this topic within the charity), we must remain focused on our core objectives of promoting positive health messages for men. Chloe Smith MP has continued to be a supportive patron of the Charity, and we will continue our association with her, in order to keep push for improvements in all men’s health and wellbeing.
We appreciate and respect the views of those supporters who contacted us about this issue, and thank all our supporters for their ongoing passion for men’s health issues.
New ‘OneYou’ campaign seeks to improve health, longevity
Focusing on people over 40, but open to all, the OneYou campaign encourages people to eat healthy, stop smoking, drink less alcohol and take enough exercise. The campaign outlines that 40% of deaths in England are related to health behaviours; i.e. that many deaths, including deaths between the ages of 40 – 70 could be prevented with healthier lifestyles.
There are a range of useful resources on the OneYou website, including a ‘How are you?’ health quiz, which will direct individuals to tailored resources depending on their responses. The site also brings together a range of information, health apps, and links to further support.
(10th March 2016)
As reported by the Daily Mail, previous efforts to ‘train’ the body’s immune system to attack cancer cells have so far been unsuccessful. One reasons is that tumours are made up of many different types of cells, making it difficult to target. However, researchers from the Institute of Cancer Research have identified a set of common mutations found on cancer cells, specifically the antigens on their surface. This raises the possibility that bespoke treatments could be developed to steer the body’s immune system to target these antigens, killing the tumours. Professor Charles Swanton from the UCL Cancer Institute was quoted by BBC News saying: “Now we can prioritise and target tumour antigens that are present in every cell – the Achilles heel of these highly complex cancers.”
There are some important points of caution that the researchers have made clear. Firstly, this approach has not yet been tested in patients, so there remain questions to be answered about how well this would work in practice. Secondly, any form of personalised medicine is likely to be expensive and will take time to develop for each individual.
For more information on cancers, risks and where you can find support, see our information page.
(4th March 2016)