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Big C cancer support centre bucks national trend by seeing more men than women

PUBLISHED: 12:15 08 November 2017

Dave Coombes, Laura Rainer, Jane Manning and volunteer Sally Quinsee from Big C's Great Yarmouth support and information centre. 

Picture: Nick Butcher

Dave Coombes, Laura Rainer, Jane Manning and volunteer Sally Quinsee from Big C's Great Yarmouth support and information centre. Picture: Nick Butcher

Archant © 2017

A cancer charity is bucking a national trend by having more men than women taking advantage of its caring service.

Jane Manning from Big C's Great Yarmouth support and information centre.
Picture: Nick Butcher Jane Manning from Big C's Great Yarmouth support and information centre. Picture: Nick Butcher

The Big C’s community centre in Great Yarmouth has responded by launching a men’s only cancer group at its hub in Regent Street.

Since opening five years ago the centre has had over 7000 visits and last year 52pc of people coming through the door were men.

The figures emerged as the centre marked its 5th anniversary with a tea party and a publicity push to spread the word about the wide range of practical and emotional support on offer.

Centre manager Jane Manning said the friendly centre was open to anyone affected by cancer including friends, family and carers.

The feedback from everyone who ventured up the stairs was wholly positive.

People, she added, came for a variety of reasons; some to find advice and to share their experiences, others were looking for more practical solutions to the financial hardships that can often accompany a diagnosis, especially among the self employed.

Often as chatter rose from the comfortable armchairs it would be difficult to tell what united those assembled over tea and biscuits, she said.

For those that wanted it there was family therapy, counselling and Reiki available by appointment and access to an “ask the nurse” service.

The fact that there were more men visiting was unusual, especially given their reputation for not reaching out to social groups for care, cake, and company.

But with prostate being one of the most common cancers it was nice that men could chat together and prepare each other for the procedures to come, just as treatment had come on in leaps and bounds.

With one in three people receiving a diagnosis and the fact that cancer was more visible and spoken about in public life, the centre was getting busier all the time.

Although people of all ages were affected it was mostly the over 50s that sought out the services.

Talking about cancer with people who had gone through it and come out the other side made it less scary, although not everyone survived and losing a friend made at the centre was upsetting.

The centre is above the charity shop in Regent Street.

The charity has also launched a free helpline.

People can call 0800 0927640 Monday to Friday 9.30-4.30pm, Wednesdays and Fridays 6-7.30pm.

More about Big C

The cancer charity for Norfolk and Waveney was started 37 years ago to bring better cancer treatment and care to the area.

Within the first year Big C had raised £60,000.

It has centres in Yarmouth, Norwich, Kings Lynn and at the Louise Hamilton Centre in Gorleston.

The charity funds research and equipment.

The first Big C charity shop opened on Castle Meadow in Norwich in 1995. It now has ten, generating 30pc of the charity’s income.

More than 700 wedding items are sold at the Timberhill shop every year.

Big C currently has around 250 volunteers who donate nearly 40,000 hours, said to be worth £280,000.

To find out more about the support the charity offers visit the website at www.big-c.co.uk/support.

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