Martin Bird is a former cancer patient, who has worked with Cancer Support UK as a Cancer Coach volunteer. He previously worked as a redundancy counsellor and a volunteer at other cancer charities.
In this blog, Martin talks about his own positive experience with Cancer Coach and wonders why more men with cancer don’t take advantage of peer group support. He has been instrumental in helping Cancer Support UK develop its men’s groups.
“I wasn’t expecting prostate cancer. It came as a shock. But I was lucky that it was in the early stages and could be fixed by surgery. Which sorted the cancer, but left me with significant issues including incontinence (now dealt with), and impotence (which can’t).
“Luckily, through Cancer Support UK, I found a cancer support group – Cancer Coach – which helped me come to terms with my issues and to be confident about the rest of my life. I thought maybe I could use my experience to help others.
“Having experienced such a constructive recovery myself, it’s a mystery to me why more men don’t take the opportunity to talk? So where are they, these fellow male prostate cancer sufferers? More than 47,500 a year apparently.
“How can men go to the pub, talk for ages about complete rubbish (sometimes) – hold firm views on politics, holiday locations and the cost of beer – yet still not be able to bring up the subject of their own health?
“Maybe not many men will read this blog, but I hope their wives and sisters and maybe daughters will. They could then prompt their fellas to consider that cancer is a critically important issue.
“Cancer has a better chance of being beaten with early diagnosis, effective treatment and mental health support.
“In our Cancer Coach groups we cover post treatment issues affecting emotional recovery. Participants are encouraged to share and to question their post-cancer journey. In doing this, they have practical suggestions and exercises to address their concern. It doesn’t ignore any fears or worries, but helps support them to deal with difficult issues.
“So don’t be soft. Be a man and start talking.”
If you want to find out more about Cancer Coach groups, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us: email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call: 020 3983 7616