A new ‘Shameless Cycle’ campaign has been launched today by health management app, myGP, to help break the cycle of embarrassment amongst men when it comes to discussing their health. At the centre of the campaign, which aims to help 1.5 million men living in the UK today to avoid a premature death, will be the inaugural ‘Shameless Cycle’ ride, which takes place in London on June 17th.
Timed to launch during Men’s Health Week, the campaign is underpinned by new research revealing that almost one in four men (23%) will point blank refuse to seek medical advice about a health issue due to embarrassment. Reluctance to speak to GPs has led to men’s health trailing women’s across several key areas, with one in five men dying before the age of 651. However, myGP aims to reduce this statistic by encouraging men to seek medical advice once symptoms arise, rather than delaying or putting off what could be a life-saving appointment.
Men’s health charities who have rushed to back the life-saving campaign, confirming the size of the problem, include Prostate Cancer UK, Men’s Health Forum, Blue Ribbon Foundation, UK Men’s Sheds Association, ManKind, blOKes, It’s On the Ball, Baggy Trousers, and It’s In the Bag.
To launch the campaign, male celebrities and medical experts will join together to discuss men’s health issues as part of the inaugural Shameless Cycle through Soho, London from 13.30 – 15.30 on Thursday 17th June. Household celebrities and influential doctors signed up for the cycle include contestants from ITV’s Love Island 2020 Connagh Howard & Jamie Clayton, television and TikTok star Dr. Emeka Okorocha, award-winning British film director, producer and rapper Fredi Nwaka, Britain’s Got Talent Semi-Finalist Saaj Raja, creator of NHSessions Dr. Kishan Bodalia, and twin brothers Dr. Daniel and Dr. Raphael Olaiya,. A full list of participants can be found below in ‘Notes to Editors’.
myGP’s behavioural study into why men delay or avoid seeking medical advice has revealed that embarrassment is currently one of the top three barriers for men, with the top ten issues men are most embarrassed to speak to GPs about identified as:
- Sex-related genital complaints
- Non sex-related genital complaints
- Rectum – anything that requires a stool sample / internal examination
- Mental health
- Urine infections
- Bad breath
- Gas / wind
- Weight issues
- Bodily odours
The Shameless Cycle team aims to break this chain of embarrassment by proudly wearing t-shirts emblazoned with these issues and encouraging men to kick their own health into gear – whether it’s finally booking that GP appointment, renewing a long overdue prescription, or seeking medical advice for a lingering physical or mental health issue. Conversations will be led throughout the cycle to encourage discussion around what the team think should and could change to encourage more men to speak up about health concerns in 2021.
Martin Tod, Chief Executive of Men’s Health Forum commented: “We campaign each and every day to improve the wellbeing of men throughout the UK. myGP’s Shameless Cycle has brilliantly captured the spirit of this awareness week. This year’s theme is ‘can do’ to let men know the options available to them if they are feeling mentally or physically unwell. We are really excited to see this cycle event grow each year and we look forward to seeing the annual event’s positive impact on men of all ages.”
Get ready to spot t-shirts with ‘Limp and Leaking’, ‘Swole but Swollen, ‘Well Dressed but Stressed’ and more on the streets of Soho as the inaugural Shameless Cycle rides its way into Men’s Health Week history. The eye-catching t-shirts are set to spark conversations both off and online, with the cycling team and charities using the #ShamelessCycle hashtag across social media throughout the event and Men’s Health Week.
Those hoping to support the team along the Shameless Cycle route can find the full map here. The team will stop for photo opportunities throughout the cycle, with moments scheduled at Chinatown and Eros. Supporters are encouraged to join the conversation online and use #ShamelessCycle to share sightings of the team, as well as their own stories of seeking medical advice. Data from myGP found that, despite the embarrassment factor, over half (54%) of men felt a sense of relief after speaking to their GP and wished they had done so sooner.
Amy Rylance, Head of Improving Care at Prostate Cancer UK, said: “Catching prostate cancer earlier gives men the best chance of a cure, but most men in the early stages of the disease don’t have any symptoms. That’s why we’re encouraging men at higher risk of prostate cancer – as well as those with symptoms – to speak to their GP. Those most at risk are men aged 50 and over, black men over 45, and men with a family history of the disease. For men who have prostate cancer we know that talking about their symptoms and the side effects of treatment can sometimes be difficult or embarrassing. We hope that myGP’s Shameless Cycle will help reduce some of that stigma and encourage more men living with prostate cancer to speak to their doctor or nurse about the help that’s available.”
Jonathan Prince, MBE and Chairman of the Blue Ribbon Foundation, commented: “We are thrilled to be working with myGP on their inaugural Shameless Cycle. At Blue Ribbon Foundation, we’re sadly aware of just how hesitant men can be when it comes to discussing health issues with their GP. Awareness driving events such as this are vital to help men realise the importance of taking control of their own physical and mental health. Symptoms, no matter how small, should never be ignored.”
myGP are encouraging men across the UK to set up their own Shameless Cycle with friends this Men’s Health Week. Whether it’s a best mate or your entire five-a-side team, encouraging others to finally book that long-delayed GP appointment could make all the difference to a friend or family member’s life. Those who wish to help raise money for crucial men’s charities can join myGP in donating to the supporting charities on the GoFundMe page dedicated to the cycle. All proceeds will be split among the supporting charities.
Speaking of the event, myGP CEO Tobias Alpsten commented “We are so excited to be launching this cycle, to have such fantastic support in its first year is incredible. We know that the health statistics against men are scary but, by encouraging open and honest conversations, alongside ease of access to GP services, we hope that we can start to turn these around. We hope that this cycle gathers more and more traction each year and I am exceedingly proud of the team for bringing this to fruition.”
Dr Preeti Shukla, NHS-GP in Blackburn, and medical advisor to myGP commented “My advice to males putting off seeking medical advice is to remember that their bodies are like bikes – sometimes they provide a smooth ride but sometimes they need some fine-tuning. There’s no such thing as a new issue – GPs will have seen the issue you are experiencing multiple – if not thousands – of times before and will do everything they can to put you at ease.”
myGP is available to download from the Play, Apple and NHS app stores. More information can be found on www.mygp.com. Key data: mortality | Men’s Health Forum (menshealthforum.org.uk) Accessed June 2021