FORMER miners in Barnsley were encouraged to open up about cancer at a recent engagement event.( Macmillan Cancer Support were on hand at the National Union of Mineworkers’ ‘Winter Warmer’ day - where former coalminers gather to relax and socialise over a brew - fielding questions and raising awareness of cancer signs and symptoms.

Men make up just over half of cancer cases, with around one in 170 men in the UK diagnosed every year, yet in 2022 only 38 per cent of people with cancer contacting Macmillan were men.( Matt Goodwin, from Macmillan, said: “Cancer isn’t easy to talk about, but it could help.

“Being at this relaxed event allowed us the opportunity to highlight our services and answer any questions attendees have about work, money or life.

“We want the people of Barnsley to know that Macmillan is there for them.

“For men in particular, we hear a lot of ‘Macmillan is not for me’ or ‘I feel like a burden on others when I speak about my cancer’ and these are both barriers for men not accessing support so it’s vital we attempt to shift these perceptions.

“We need to get more men talking about cancer and seeking support.”

Paul Darlow, from the NUM, added: “It was a real pleasure to have Macmillan present and our attendees felt comfortable in a familiar environment to open up about their indirect and direct experiences.

“We’re quite a stoic community, especially in Barnsley, so it’s good to know Macmillan is there for the people should they need that support if they have any worries or concerns about cancer.”

* Macmillan’s free, confidential phone line is open seven days a week, 8am to 8pm to support people with cancer with any questions.