A campaign to raise awareness about a disease which kills almost 1000 men a year in Scotland is being launched in betting shops across the country.

William Hill, one of the largest retail bookmakers in Scotland, is partnering with Prostate Cancer UK this summer in a bid to provide potentially life saving information and support to men at risk of developing the disease.

Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer among men, with one in eight men likely to get the disease at some point in their lives. However, it can often be successfully treated if caught early enough. Awareness of risk is a man’s chief defence against the disease.  Men over 50, men with a family history of the disease and black men are more at risk and should speak to their doctor if they have concerns.

Over the next three months, prostate cancer information and leaflets will be available within all 310 William Hill shops in Scotland, awareness posters will be displayed on washroom doors, and all staff will receive training on key prostate cancer messages to bring up in conversation with customers. Volunteers from Prostate Cancer UK, who have lived or are currently living with the disease, will also visit shops and talk to staff and customers about their own experiences.

Fundraising will also be a key component of the partnership. Customers will have the opportunity to buy one of the charity’s ‘Man of Men’ pin badges in store or simply donate via collection tins which will be in each store. Staff will also be encouraged to arrange fundraising activities for employees. Customers and employees will also be encouraged to take part or volunteer at Prostate Cancer UK fundraising events over the summer including the charity’s March for Men in Glasgow over Father’s Day weekend.

The partnership will run from 23 May to 14 August, during a busy summer of sport that includes a series of Scotland football friendlies against Mexico and Peru, the Champions League Final, the World Cup, FIFA Women’s World Cup Qualifiers, Royal Ascot and ‘Glorious Goodwood.’  Campaign messages were also beamed to fans on giant screens during last weekend’s Scottish Cup Final at Hampden.

Kathleen Feeney, Team Leader - Volunteer Engagement for Prostate Cancer UK, said: “Prostate Cancer UK’s ambition is to stop men dying from prostate cancer and to achieve this it is crucial to reach as many men as possible to help raise awareness of their risk. Partnering with William Hill provides an opportunity to get these important health messages out to a large number of men in Scotland whilst raising funds. We look forward to engaging with men across the whole of Scotland over the next few months and joining forces to help beat this disease.”

Tracey Campbell, William Hill Area Manager said: ‘It is a privilege for William Hill to be partnering with Prostate Cancer UK, who do such vital work in tackling the disease. We have a significant presence in Scotland and using our network of shops we have a real opportunity to raise awareness of a cancer which is now the 3rd biggest killer in the UK, and encourage as many of our customers, colleagues and members of our communities to seek support if they have any concerns about their health.’

ABB Scotland, the trade body representing the majority of retail betting shops in Scotland, is part funding the campaign.

ABB Scotland spokesman Donald Morrison said: "Given the age profile of many of our customers, typically male and over 50, this partnership makes perfect sense. Hopefully, the close relationship between shop staff and customers means we can break down some of the taboos surrounding the disease and encourage customers to have conversations with their GP that they might not otherwise have."

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