Bill Bailey today leads a host of celebrities, including Damian Lewis, Charles Dance and Sir Michael Parkinson, as Men United – a team to take on Prostate Cancer.
‘Men United v Prostate Cancer’, a punchy and unashamedly masculine campaign using the language of sport to engage the nation’s men, is the brainchild of male health charity, Prostate Cancer UK.
In his role of the Men United ‘team manager’, Bill Bailey fronts the campaign. It kicks off with a national television message, filmed at the home of Millwall FC, which debuts to millions of viewers during football coverage on ITV1, Saturday January 25, when AFC Bournemouth host Liverpool FC in the FA Cup fourth round.
In the 30-second advert, which premieres at half time, he calls on men from all walks of life to sign for Men United, adding their weight to the new movement to beat the devastating ‘dad’s disease’ once and for all.
“We need men to sign for the team in their thousands. Clubs, pubs, individuals – let’s get everyone on the team. It’s easy – just search Men United online and you’re in! We’re determined to make this as massive for blokes as the breast cancer campaign has been for women,” says Bill, whose own father-in-law is one of the 250,000 men in the UK living with the disease.
Top names from sport, the arts and industry - many with personal stories of the destruction inflicted by the disease on a man’s life - have already signed for Men United and now join ‘gaffer’ Bailey in urging the nation’s men to sign up to fight the apathy and neglect surrounding one of the UK’s biggest man killers.
Broadcasting and chat-show legend, Sir Michael Parkinson, himself diagnosed with the disease last year, is among the first recruits, stating: "I’m signing up to Men United because I know what it is to confront prostate cancer. You definitely don’t want to do it alone. However tough you are, you need all the support you can get. Every year, around 40,000 men are diagnosed with this disease in the UK, and men need to join together to fight back."
Damian Lewis, who plays the edgy character Brody in the hit US series Homeland, was also quick to put his name to the campaign. A father in his 40s, the actor said: “I’m not yet 50 but one day I will be and that’s when a man’s risk of prostate cancer spikes. I’m joining Men United because it’s about hammering a disease which kills 10,000 men in the UK each year. Men United aims to tackle that.”
Each year almost as many men are diagnosed with prostate cancer as women are diagnosed with breast cancer. But research into prostate cancer is badly underfunded, leaving tests and treatments trailing behind other common cancers. And the quality and availability of treatment can vary across the UK.
Owen Sharp, Chief Executive at Prostate Cancer UK, is leading the charge to challenge injustice around the disease. He said: "A man in the UK dies each hour from prostate cancer and another is diagnosed every fifteen minutes, yet in one year, England spent seven times more money on burning over-prescribed medicines than it did on prostate cancer research. That’s obscene and our men deserve better.
"Here, prostate cancer survival rates are below the European average, here research into the disease lags a decade behind that for other cancers, and quality of care depends on where you live. It’s a scandal and we are not going to accept it. Men United is a powerful way for men, and the women in their lives, to mobilise against this common enemy. By signing up, you have a place and a voice in a growing movement that’s taking action for men’s health.”
In a final rousing rallying cry, Men United’s manager Bailey, added: "One in every eight of us will get prostate cancer. It’s a deadly game but the message is, 'we can win this'. Men United is about blokes wising up to their risk, manning up to face it, and stepping up to demand better care. Life isn’t a spectator sport; it’s about getting in there and being part of the solution. Prostate cancer has been the poor relation for far too long. That has to change and Men United is the team to change it. But it needs every one of us, so search Men United and join in.”
To sign for Men United head here: www.prostatecanceruk.org/menunited