You've seen the ads on TV, now Dáirne Black explains exactly what Blue September is all about and why it should matter to you

We all remember the 90s tune, I’m Blue Da Ba Dee Da Ba Die, thanks Eiffel 65. This September I’m urging you all to channel your inner Blue and go Blue for September. Blue September is an awareness and fundraising campaign set up by the Men’s Cancer Alliance.

According to Twitter, the Men’s Cancer Alliance is “a national alliance of charities who believe that #NoMan should die unnecessarily to cancer and that a culture of embarrassment stops men taking action on time”. It’s made up of the Mater Foundation, the Mercy Hospital Foundation and Cancer Care West.

It’s true that men don’t talk as much as they should. Stereotypically, they put things off and the old saying “ah, sure it’ll be grand, don’t fuss” applies.

Being a young student, all you want is to fit in and settle into college. You don’t want to go to the college health centre in case anyone sees you. You’re scared, nervous, maybe worried, but on the surface, everything is fine.

You may not even be totally aware of what prostate cancer is. You know it has something to do with the reproductive system, but aren’t completely sure what part. You’ve heard of Blue September, your Welfare Officer was handing out fliers this morning, but it was so early and you were in a rush to your lecture.

Blue September is an internationally recognised campaign and aims to get guys to “face up to cancer”.  Essentially get them more familiar, more knowledgeable and more willing and more open to talking about it. The campaign, while seemingly well known and associated with prostate cancer, also focuses on testicular, lung and bowel cancer.

We’ve all been affected by cancer in some shape or form. However, you’re young, and while you might not have it now, it’s important to be aware of the signs and know how to check yourself properly. Little signs or indications mean things can be caught early and dealt with. Most colleges offer a free health service, and while the waiting can often be lengthy, they do run emergency clinics every day.

Blueseptember.ie is the website associated with the campaign. I found it to be informative and user-friendly. It’s not clinical, and in fact you’d be forgiven for thinking it was something akin to Joe.ie, as the main page invites you to play a game of “keepy uppy”. For anyone not familiar with the term, it’s asking you to keep balls up in the air. Trying to ease you into the site and lighten the mood.

The website provides the facts and figures clearly and concisely, the main ones being the symptoms, the risk factors and the prevention tips. For any young male reading this, I can’t stress how important it is to check yourself. The idea of checking yourself seems so basic and uncontroversial, almost accepted wisdom. How could you not notice a lump or bump? A pain or an ache? Burning sensation? Unexplained tiredness?  

But, if we women can put on a bra daily and fail to notice a lump or bump on our breast, it can happen to males too. Like with all cancers, early detection is vital and checking yourself is key to this. It’s simple lads, when you’re getting ready in the morning, putting on that pair of boxers or in the shower, have a quick check to make sure everything is how it should be.

To donate to Blue September you can text Fight to 50300 #KeepUpTheFight. I know you lads aren’t fans of the aul chatter, but even if you have a race against your friends to see who could get the highest score on Keepy Uppy? That’s still promoting Blue September and spreading the word. If you can grow a ‘tache for November, let’s try spread the word for September.

Website: http://www.blueseptember.ie/