‘It Shouldn’t Be As Hard As It Seems…’

…to come up with a catchy slogan for a Breast Cancer Awareness month campaign that’s aimed at men. But it is. Men are a funny lot.

This October, during the annual pink cascade, Feel Yourself Campaign will be encouraging the forgotten minority to get involved – men. One thing that always strikes me at festivals and events we attend with our stall is the number of men who are genuinely surprised that they can get breast cancer too.

OK, so the numbers are smaller. In the UK it’s approximately 400 men a year compared to approximately 50,000 women (figures from Cancer Research UK) but it is still a disease that affects men, and that fact is often overlooked in amongst all the pinkification, the glitter, the shouting about awareness and the general in your face boobiness of October.

Obviously it goes without saying that Feel Yourself Campaign supports breast cancer awareness month fully. Women are way too complacent about regular self-checking, and with 80% of lumps being found by the patient themselves, having a good feel is vital. We applaud the work Breast Cancer Campaign do every October to raise awareness, and even more than that, we applaud their research into a disease that devastates so many every year. But it’s a very pink-heavy month.

Breast cancer doesn’t discriminate like society often does. It is not gender specific. Women have higher incidences because women have more breast tissue. But any breast tissue can develop breast cancer.

So how to reach the elusive men during a month that seems to be dedicated to women, but is actually really all about raising awareness about a cancer that affects both genders? We’ve seen with the recent Ice Bucket Challenge that men are as eager to get involved in raising awareness as women. Anything with the word ‘challenge’ in appeals to that traditionally male pursuit of doing something better than all your mates. So how do we challenge men to help challenge society’s perception of breast cancer as a female disease?

By asking them to take their tops off. In my experience as a mother of two small boys, this is something males love almost as much as waving their willies about, but let’s save the willy windmills til Testicular Cancer Awareness month takes off. My original idea was a Topless Feel Yourselfie with men doing heart heads over one of their areas of breast tissue – but unfortunately #ThisMorning have just launched a #NoFearGoSmear campaign that is asking women to take a selfie with heart hands. As annoying as it is to find your idea is already in play, it’s not as annoying as finding they’ve used a logo virtually the same as the Feel Yourself logo. We can come up with another angle for the boys in October, but as a small charity, we definitely can’t afford to re-brand. (Still not getting any joy from This Morning or ITV regarding this matter either.)

So, perhaps a topless photo with writing on the chest, along with a cut and paste awareness status about men feeling their own breasts, a Just Giving text number and the nomination of a couple of mates to carry it on. I have a willing volunteer to get this ball rolling with the boys (I say ‘willing’, but I kind of railroaded him, sorry #jacksgettingfitter) so all I need to do now is isolate a slogan relating to bareness and awareness, and get Jack to take his top off, write it on his chest, and post it to his Tumblr followers…


I stole the title of this post from #jacksgettingfitter too, and the ‘breast cancer doesn’t discriminate like society does’ line.