2024-06-12 12:12

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Prostate Cancer – Raising Awareness and Campaigning for a National Screening Programme

Men's Health Week 10th to 17th June 2024

CWU's Dave Joyce, National Health, Safety, and Environment Officer, on the eve of this year's Men's Health Week, has issued a detailed Letter To All Branches, and including to BT/EE Branches; regarding Prostate Cancer and the Union's campaign to educate all members about a disease that all too often is a silent killer.

It is important to all male AND female members to understand the risks to men of this disease.

Prostate Cancer is the second most common cancer in men.

Dave's Letter To Branches (LTB198/24) details two cases of CWU national officials, losing their lives to the disease:

"As we approach Men’s Health Week 2024 with the UK theme “Lets Talk Prostate” this is an update report on the research, campaigning and raising awareness work undertaken by the Health, Safety and Environment Department and in particular the call for a national screening programme.

As CWU Branches, Regions and health and safety reps will well know Prostate Cancer is an important subject matter that the Health, Safety & Environment Department has done a huge amount of work and campaigning on over the years to raise awareness amongst our Regions, Branches and members.

Prostate Cancer is a subject which is also personally dear to our heart as two former CWU National Official colleagues and long-standing friends died of Prostate Cancer;

Dave Ward former CWU Education and Training Officer lost his battle against prostate cancer and passed away on 1 February 2020.

Former CWU National Romec/RMP&FS Rep and Chair of our London Postal Engineering Branch, Cyril Onyejekwe, passed away on Sunday 10 March 2019 after a long battle with Prostate Cancer and myelofibrosis.

Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men, and rates are on the rise. By 2030 its forecast that there’ll be 1.7 million men living with prostate cancer in the UK. It’s already killing hundreds of thousands of men each year, and those who survive face serious side effects.

The Health, Safety & Environment department has worked hard on awareness raising, producing LTBs, Fact Sheets, Posters and a Black Workers Fact Sheet/Leaflet/Flyer has been produced, as requested by the Black Workers Conference which was very well received indeed – Black Workers being higher risk etc."

Despite this work, readers of this website will know that CWU has abolished the Dept and the Post, with Dave's retirement on 31st July 2024. To date, there is no sign of such campaigns like this being continued by the Union.

image: LTB198/24 - click to download full documentDave's LTB contains several documents which can be downloaded as part of the letter, and contains background information regarding the CWU Campaign which has been running since 2003:

"The first Prostate Cancer Campaign we in the Health, Safety & Environment Department ran was our “Water Works” Campaign with Posters and Leaflets in 2003.

We ran our first ‘Movember’ Help Save Men’s’ Lives Campaign in 2016 Highlighting Prostate Cancer, Testicular Cancer and Suicide Prevention with posters, leaflets and pocket cards.

In 2017 we published LTB 165/17 – launching a CWU ‘Prostate Cancer Awareness Campaign’ in conjunction with ‘Prostate Cancer UK’. (Copy attached). This included;

  • Five pages of general information plus,
  • Diet and physical activity for men with prostate cancer,
  • Know your prostate – A guide to common prostate problems,
  • Prostate cancer – A guide for men who’ve just been diagnosed,
  • What is my risk of prostate cancer? Guide.

In 2017 we repeated the ‘Movember’ Prostate Cancer campaign with an extensive, detailed report and Guidance in LTB 597/17. The Guidance on Prostate cancer links in the LTB are;

Also in 2017 we ran our “Seven Health Checks Men Must Do” Campaign which focused on Prostate Cancer.

 In 2019 we ran the CWU ‘Prostate Cancer and Your Risk’ campaign with a New CWU Leaflet & Information for Black Men following CWU Conference Motion 47(2018), launched at the CWU Black Workers Conference which was exceptionally well received. Figures state that black, Caribbean and mixed-race men are more likely to die from prostate cancer than any other group of men.

Branches and Regions will be aware that ‘Calling on the UK Government to introduce ‘Prostate Cancer Screening’

As well as raising awareness amongst members of Prostate Cancer, its signs, symptoms and to encourage members to get checked and PSA tested where appropriate is already CWU Conference Policy through the carriage of Composite Motion 36(2022) and Composite Motion 68(2016), Motion 47(2018) and this year Motion 12(2014) was carried.

The Health, Safety and Environment Department has pursued and investigated the issue of Prostate Cancer Screening with national subject matter experts and in fact we had correspondence and discussions with Laura Kerby CEO, Jonathon Waxman OBE President and Jonathan Kay Health Information Team Lead of ‘Prostate Cancer UK’, the main Charity in this area, to seek their expert advice and check on the up to date medical and research situation regarding Prostate Cancer Screening and in particular the suitability of using the PSA test for this purpose.

A copy of the detailed written advice and response from ‘Prostate Cancer UK’ dated April 2022 is attached. This has been previously shared with Branches and Regions involved in past Conference Motions to update them."

You can download LTB 198/24 in full, including it's attachments, by clicking on the LTB image above.

Source: CWU / Dave Joyce / unionsafety


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