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The Man Van lands

WHAT do you get if you cross a group of men, a 38 ft American-style RV and a good cause?

You get Tenovus’s ManVan and we caught up with them when the van arrived in Loudoun Square, Butetown yesterday.

TM_ManVan2_PrintThe ManVan is a converted motor home which brings one-to-one, couples and group counselling, medical support and welfare rights advice to men who are suffering with cancer and live in deprived or hard-to-reach areas.

Around 2,600 men are diagnosed with prostate or testicular cancer every year in Wales. But the NHS in Wales currently spends just 7 per cent of its budget on cancer services.

The van has currently clocked more than 15,000 miles travelling all over the country. It visits hospitals and clinics in every health board in Wales, spending one month in North, Mid, South East and West Wales.

Working alongside Prostate Cancer UK, the £600,000 which funded the project was raised by Movember, a leading global organisation who challenge men to grow a moustache during November to improve the lives of men affected by prostate cancer, testicular cancer and mental health problems.

On board is nurse Peter Gill, who has worked as a cancer nurse for over 25 years and provides medical support and advice to those on board.

He said: “We are mainly based alongside hospital and urology clinics, but we also park in other areas, for example, outside universities and factories where a lot of men who may find the hospital clinics hard to reach can access our services.

“We don’t only engage with men, women come on board with their husbands. We support children whose parents may be suffering from cancer – everyone in the wider family. TM_ManVan3_Print

“We see people who suffer with cancer and people who are just concerned about the possible risks of cancer. There are no tests performed on board, we merely support and advise people about the symptoms and how they can they can properly examine their testicles.”

Also on board is Tom Dyer, who provides advice on the financial hardship of cancer, he said: “Cancer does not only affect people physically, it can also affect them financially. I offer advice on welfare rights.

“Many people do not know that they are entitled to benefits and grants such as the Personal Independence Payment or the Employment Support Allowance.”

Logistics officer Nigel Roberts drives the ManVan and performs site-visits to make sure different locations can accommodate the 38-foot motor-home.

Counsellor Paul Rogers also fluctuates between the ManVan and Tenovus’ other mobile services to provide counselling and support to people suffering with cancer.
The van will be outside the University Hospital of Wales next Tuesday from 9-5.

If you are concerned about prostate cancer you can also ring their free support line on 08088081010.

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