Dylan raises cancer awareness

West Ham United linked up with the One For The Boys male cancer awareness campaign to help highlight the need for men to get checked out at a special event at Westfield Stratford  City.

The project, which is spearheaded by Hollywood actor Samuel L Jackson, teamed up with ITV's This Morning programme to host a male cancer clinic to raise awareness and offer the chance for men aged 18-44 years to have a free testicular cancer check and men over 50 years for a free prostate examination.

Young Hammers forward Dylan Tombides, who has himself been treated for testicular cancer over the last two years, was on hand to give his personal support and relay the work of the West Ham United Community Sports Trust. The Trust has been delivering a men's health programme over the last three years to encourage men to lead more healthier lifestyles and get checked out for cancer.

The key theme of the event was for men to get themselves checked out at the earliest sign of a problem. It was hosted by pop singer and television reality star Peter Andre and saw snooker legend Jimmy White and former Coronation Street actors Charlie Lawson (who played Jim McDonald) and Nick Cochrane (Andy McDonald) and BBC football pundit Mark Bright, himself an ambassador for Prostate Cancer projects.

Dylan Tombides

Jimmy White, Dylan Tombides and Mark Bright

Medical professionals conducted private examinations and there was hands-on advice from specialist nursing staff from Cancer Research UK.

Tombides, who has been a regular for West Ham's table-topping Development Squad, said that getting checked out was important and encouraged more men to do so.

"It is really important, iIf you think there is something not right to get this checked out with your doctor," he said. "It is not embarrassing, it is all done confidentially and having been through treatment, if there is a chance you can prevent the cancer or half the treatment or prevent any other problems by visiting the doctor, to check everything is OK, then it is worth it.

"I think campaigns and events like this are great as it raises the awareness that all it takes is a short visit to the doctor and getting checked out like this isn't as bad as it might seem."

West Ham United Community Sports Trust has seen a successful response to the men's health project it has hosted. The programme's aim was to create opportunities for men to learn more about their health, including cancers, in a non-medical setting.

Those who joined up to the project received free support over a period of eight weeks from the community's health trainer coaches and free access to gym facilities to encourage them to take up more exercise.

Going forward, the Trust will be working with a number of partners to support local and national health campaigns, particularly among men at West Ham's home matches this season.

Caroline Geraghty, a senior cancer information nurse for Cancer Research UK, said the support of a Barclays Premier League football club like West Ham is crucial to campaigns like this.

"Football is watched by millions, especially men, so when a football club like West Ham lend their support in whatever way possible to campaigns and awareness programmes like this, it means a lot and we can get our message out to many more men.

For more on West Ham United Community Sports Trust Men's Health campaign, click here.

For more information on Cancer Research UK, click here.