Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 31 July 2014

Men urged to discuss health issues

Samuel L Jackson is backing new charity One For The Boys, which aims to increase awareness of cancer issues among men

Samuel L Jackson has urged men to be more open about their health problems in an attempt to tackle cancer.

The Pulp Fiction star, who is fronting a new charity called One For The Boys, believes men should talk more about the disease and other illnesses.

Jackson, 64, said: "Guys don't talk about their health issues, unless they've got a sprained ankle. We'll talk about our injuries but we won't talk about our illnesses, so I think it's time we do that."

The actor said he was motivated to put his weight behind the charity after friends had secretly dealt with cancer without telling anybody. He said: "When they started talking about it, I realised most guys don't talk to other guys about what their medical conditions are - especially cancer conditions.

"And most guys think the only cancer guys get is prostate cancer, or they look at televisions and see it as basically a woman's problem, but it's not. So I realised that we do really need to make men aware of the fact that cancer is a very serious thing for guys."

One For The Boys was founded by events organiser Sofia Davis to challenge men's understanding of cancers and their tendency to have a more laissez-faire approach to their health. All money raised will go towards the Royal Marsden Hospital in London to buy new MRI scanners for cancer diagnosis.

In recent weeks, Angelina Jolie has revealed she had a double mastectomy because she has a higher chance of developing breast cancer, and Michael Douglas has spoken about his throat cancer being caused by the HPV virus after having oral sex.

Jackson said he has an exercise and diet regime to make sure he keeps healthy.

He said: "I try and eat a certain way, and I try and exercise. I do use alternative medicines, I go to acupuncturists, get massages, but I'm old, so I need to have those things. But the sooner you recognise how to take care of your body, the longer you'll have that engine driving you, and the more you'll be able to do for yourself and for other people because you are healthy and you'll be a healthy example."

He added: "I stretch. I ride a bike. I don't necessarily get out and run. I ride a stationary bike for an hour, an hour and a half, two or three times a week. I get on the big Swiss ball, I've got my TRX straps to use my own body weight to pull myself around. Push-ups, pull-ups and stuff like that, so I try to find a way to maintain a specific weight and a specific level of fitness that allows me to have a comfortable lifestyle, and not be achy, and, I guess, kind of old."

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