Written by on . Pegasus.

Having conversations that save men’s lives – International Men’s Day

Riana Horner celebrates International Men’s Day, and reveals a new campaign that is helping sons and daughters start conversations with their father about his prostate cancer.

International Men’s Day (19 November) celebrates ‘the positive value men bring to the world, their families and communities,’ and aims to raise awareness of men’s health and well-being across the globe.

Sadly, there are a number of health issues that men face today. Research has shown:

  • the suicide rate for men is three times higher than women1
  • one in three men have been the victims of domestic violence1
  • men have a shorter life expectancy than women of up to five years 1
  • men are nearly twice as likely to suffer from lung cancer than women1
  • men are nearly twice as likely to suffer from heart disease than women1
  • prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men2

Raising awareness of men’s health issues is something I have become increasing passionate about. Undoubtedly this is due to working on the Manversation campaign over that past year – the campaign that highlights the importance of conversations around prostate cancer. I have come to learn that noticing small changes in men with prostate cancer can make a big difference to their long-term survival, as it could mean the cancer is progressing to a more advanced stage. Often, friends and family are well placed to help spot these crucial changes and encourage their loved ones to visit their doctor to get the treatment they need.

This year, the aim of the Manversation campaign is to support sons and daughters of men with prostate cancer, to equip and motivate them to start those essential conversations.

We surveyed 200 sons and daughters to explore the barriers they experienced when trying to initiate conversations with their father about his prostate cancer. We then carried out eight in-depth interviews to further understand the deeper psychological, cultural and societal influences of these barriers.

Findings from the survey revealed:

  • over half (54 per cent) of sons and daughters say the conversation about prostate cancer is avoided by either them, their father or both3
  • more than three in five (61 per cent) of sons and daughters wish they felt more confident in starting a conversation with their father about his prostate cancer3
  • almost one in three (31 per cent) have never tried to start a conversation with their father about his prostate cancer3
  • worrying that they will upset their father and make things harder for him is the main barrier to sons and daughters having a conversation, followed by feeling awkward, a lack of confidence in talking about the topic and feelings of anxiety3

From these insights, we created a discussion guide that provides practical advice for sons and daughters to talk to their father about his prostate cancer. The guide, which is housed on the Manversation website also contains easy to understand medical information about prostate cancer and the treatments available to enable more informed conversations.

We then developed a number of campaign materials, including a short film and engaging static images, which were targeted to key audiences on social media to raise awareness, drive traffic to the Manversation website and encourage downloads of the new guide. We also targeted those who are actively searching prostate cancer keywords with Google PPC (pay-per-click) activity to drive users to the Manversation website.

In addition to digital media activity, we used traditional and broadcast media outreach to further support the campaign. This involved targeting national TV and radio stations as a priority and arranging interviews with a father and son case study (in which the father is living with prostate cancer), as well as an affiliated patient advocacy group representative and medical professional.

If you would like to learn more, visit the Manversation website at: www.manversation.co.uk.

To find out more about how you can get involved and support International Men’s Day, visit https://internationalmensday.com/.


  • International Men’s Day – Challenges. Available at https://internationalmensday.com/challenges/ [Last accessed November 2019]
  • The Prostate and Prostate Cancer – Some facts. Available at http://www.tackleprostate.org/some_facts.php [Last accessed November 2019]
  • Market research with 200 sons and daughters, aged 18-45 years old, of a father currently living with prostate cancer, conducted by 3GEM Research and Insights in May 2019 on behalf of Pegasus and Bayer.

For internal use only.