The England football team are urging all men to check themselves regularly to ensure they detect early signs of testicular or prostate cancer.
Some players took time off from their training this month to pose with the ‘Keep your eye on the ball’ campaign’s lumpy ball, to highlight the need for men to check for unusual lumps.
The England manager, Sven-Goran Eriksson, said: 'the footballing community is not immune to the threat of cancer but by being more aware of the signs and symptoms of testicular and prostate cancer men can give themselves a fighting chance. It is a campaign which can ultimately help save men’s lives.'
The campaign, run by the Professional Footballers’ Association, the Football Association and Everyman campaign, a cancer research charity, is now in its fourth year. All football clubs have been called on to play their part.
The campaign was started in response to the discovery by a number of UK players that they had testicular cancer.
‘The players are now well enough to continue their careers, demonstrating how early diagnosis and treatment can lead to full recovery,’ Gordon Taylor, chief executive of the Professional Footballers’ Association, said.
Testicular cancer is the most common form of cancer among men aged 18 to 35, which is also the average span of a player’s career. If caught early, the cancers can be cured in 96% of cases.
During the two-week campaign clubs will put information about male cancer on their websites and in their matchday programmes. A survey of 315 male football fans last month revealed that just 19% check themselves regularly for testicular cancer, and 84% thought they were less well informed about cancer than women.
When asked who they would feel comfortable talking to if they were worried about testicular cancer, 7% said no-one, 36% said their partner, and 41% said their GP.