A pharmacy initiative to tackle men’s health

On every measure of health, men fare significantly worse than women. Most of us are aware of Movember and how it raises public awareness of some of the biggest health issues faced by men. Since 2003, this men’s health movement has raised £402m and funded more than 1,000 programmes, focusing on the biggest male health threats, with prostate cancer leading the list and this year physical inactivity being high on the agenda. The Movember Foundation works globally with academic and clinical institutions to set up programmes to improve men’s health and this Movember sees the launch of the True NTH Exercise and Diet project in UK community pharmacies, funded by Prostate Cancer UK and the Movember Foundation and conducted by researchers at the University of Surrey.

One of the True NTH UK projects, Exercise and Diet, is a new pharmacy-based intervention designed to improve the well-being of men living with prostate cancer. Factors such as obesity and inactivity are known to contribute to prostate cancer and increased cardiovascular risks. In the UK, 40,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year. However, men are not usually aware that some prostate cancer treatments can put them at higher risk of cardiovascular complications and increase their risk of diabetes and stroke. Physical inactivity and being overweight can worsen side effects such as erectile dysfunction and urinary incontinence. The True NTH Exercise and Diet project works with community pharmacists to help men who have completed treatment to make lifestyle changes to improve their outlook. The intervention will provide men with information about their personal lifestyle risks, as well as individually tailored advice on changes to make to their diet and exercise.

After completing cancer treatment, men will be invited to take part and referred to one of the healthy living pharmacies taking part in this project. A specially trained pharmacist will undertake an enhanced health and lifestyle assessment underpinned by an evidence-based algorithm developed at the University of Surrey. It will be run via PharmOutcomes and will support pharmacists to give a personalised lifestyle prescription for each man.

The team, led by Sara Faithfull, professor of cancer nursing at the University of Surrey, developed this project by working with experts as well as men living with the disease. The university has a strong track record of multidisciplinary research in nutrition, lifestyle and health sciences, and is collaborating with the University of Northumbria in exercise physiology to create the intervention.

As Movember draws to an end, the True NTH Exercise and Diet moves from development to piloting the service in community pharmacies. We start training community pharmacies in 2016 with a bespoke Centre for Pharmacy Postgraduate Education programme that builds on skills and knowledge acquired via the healthy living pharmacy initiative and NHS Health Checks.

This pharmacy initiative will start on high streets of Hampshire in April 2016. This is a great example of how the money raised will introduce greater health benefits for men with prostate cancer.

Agnieszka Lemanska

Project collaborator, True NTH Exercise and Diet

University of Surrey

Graham Phillips

St Albans,


Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, December 2015, Vol 295, No 7884;295(7884):DOI:10.1211/PJ.2015.20200145

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