Irish Men’s Sheds Association & Ipsen launch national roadshow Shed Some Light on Prostate Cancer – encouraging more men across Ireland to share cancer experiences with peers
New research among Irish Men’s Sheds Association (IMSA) members reveals:
- Almost a third of members actively avoid discussing health concerns with close ones
- 71% of members are worried about the prevalence of prostate cancer among men in Ireland
- 17% of members have experienced prostate cancer, and 57% have had a close friend or family member diagnosed
Irish Men’s Sheds Association (IMSA) has partnered with biopharmaceutical company Ipsen Ireland to launch a national roadshow series Shed Some Light on Prostate Cancer taking place across 16 locations.
The goal of the roadshows is to encourage more peer-to-peer conversations about prostate cancer through the IMSA regional network of 400 Men’s Sheds in the Republic of Ireland – enabling men across the country to discuss personal experiences, concerns and management of prostate cancer.
New research conducted by IMSA among its member network shows that 17% have personally experienced prostate cancer, while a further 57% know someone close to them who has been diagnosed. According to the results, speaking about medical conditions like prostate cancer can be a challenge for men – with 32% of members saying they find it difficult to open up about personal health issues with friends or family. And over a quarter (29%) actively avoid speaking about health-related issues with their close ones. This is despite the fact that 71% of men surveyed said the prevalence of prostate cancer among men in Ireland is a source of worry for them (one in eight men in Ireland are affected by prostate cancer in their lifetime).
IMSA and Ipsen have launched the Shed Some Light on Prostate Cancer roadshows to create opportunities for men to share their own stories with peers and facilitate a national conversation around the illness this prostate cancer awareness month. IMSA and Ipsen hope that by encouraging more discussions around prostate cancer in local Men’s Sheds across the country, more men will realise that they are not alone on their cancer journey and they can confide in others about their concerns.
The roadshow events will be led by a team of IMSA members who volunteered as conversation facilitators and attended an insights session to help them lead prostate cancer discussions with members in their local Men’s Shed. These local IMSA members will facilitate conversations about prostate cancer, its symptoms, diagnosis and management – with the overall goal of creating a forum for diagnosed and undiagnosed members to speak about their personal experiences and worries.
Commenting on IMSA and Ipsen’s partnership Enda Egan CEO of the Irish Men’s Sheds Association said:
“The Men’s Shed environment is a unique and supportive space where men feel safe with other men to talk about their health and wellbeing issues. We hope our Shed community can openly discuss and learn more a major men’s health issue, which men actively avoid talking about, through the ‘Shed Some Light on Prostate Cancer’ roadshow.
“Sometimes we have to recognise that individuals are ‘experts’ in their own lives and have valuable life experience and learnings to share with others. But just as Shedders share woodturning, bee keeping and painting skills with each other in their local Sheds, there are also opportunities to share individual insights and advice for health-related issues including cancer diagnosis, treatment and recovery.
“We commend all Shed members who have participated in the insights session to become conversation facilitators for our national roadshow series, and we urge Shedders throughout Ireland to join the local events this month to discuss a medical condition that unfortunately touches the lives of so many men across the country.”
General Manager of Ipsen Ireland Paul Byrne added:
“We are delighted to partner with the Irish Men’s Sheds Association to launch the ‘Shed Some Light on Prostate Cancer’ roadshow across Ireland. We hope that this partnership will help men in communities across the country find support and reassurance in the company of their peers to discuss prostate cancer, which is a real concern for many men, with 71% of IMSA members worried about it.
“The role of peer-to-peer conversations in helping men open up and avoid suffering in silence when it comes to prostate cancer is very important. The Ipsen team in Ireland is committed to helping improve quality of life for patients with underserved and life-threatening illnesses like prostate cancer and we collectively hope that this initiative will help create an important support network for men across the country.”
*About the IMSA Member Survey
Research was conducted among IMSA members in November 2022.
 Common cancers that affect men | Irish Cancer Society. Accessed: November 2022