About us

Every year over 55,000 men in the UK will be diagnosed with prostate, testicular or penile cancer. Of these men over 52,000 will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, over 2,300 will be diagnosed with testicular cancer and 700 will be diagnosed with the rare penile cancer. Sadly, these numbers are increasing. (Figures: Cancer Research UK Professional, no of new cases between 2016-2018).

What we do in supporting people affected by male cancer

Orchid is the UK’s leading charity working on behalf of anyone affected by or interested in male cancer – prostate, testicular and penile cancer. Established in 1996 by testicular cancer patient Colin Osborne MBE and the oncologist who saved his life, Professor Tim Oliver, Orchid exists to save men’s lives from male cancer through a range of support services, education and awareness campaigns and a pioneering research programme.

Support services

We offer a comprehensive, free of charge,  information service staffed by specialist Male Cancer Information Nurses including:

  • a freephone National Male Cancer Helpline 0808 802 0010 available Monday, Wednesday and Fridays 9.00 – 5.30pm or by email helpline@orchid-cancer.org.uk
  • an evidenced based portfolio of publications which are independently reviewed and evidence based about the three male cancers, developed to support patients, their families and healthcare professionals to understand and deal with issues around the diagnosis and treatment.
  • new resources for young people – the Young Persons’ Testicular Cancer Project (YPTCP) was set up to engage with school nurses, health professionals and education providers, to equip them with greater resources to improve their understanding of TC amongst the young people they worked with;
  • projects targeting ‘at risk’ groups:
    • Changing Lives Project – engaging black African and black Caribbean men at risk of or affected by prostate cancer – a 3 year Big Lottery funded project which concluded in 2019 but Orchid is following up with some further work soon to be announced;
    • Penile Cancer Support Project in Scotland – the service is based in Glasgow and offers information and support of a non-clinical nature to those affected by penile cancer and their families.
  • a unique programme of nurse-led penile cancer peer support opportunities;
  • the facilitation of some opportunities for men with prostate and testicular cancer to get together, currently delivered virtually until it is safe to meet face to face.
  • a series of films:
    • Active Surveillance for prostate cancer – what it is and why some men are placed on it;
    • Uncle Mike – tells the story of a young man and his mentor and the impact prostate cancer has on their relationship;
    • A Letter to my Unpresented Self – one man’s personal journey with prostate cancer;
    • Your Privates – a testicular cancer microsite.  This was highly commended at the British Medical Association Patient Information Awards, 2016
    • ‘Know Your Balls…Check Em Out’ – an award winning film, 2001

Education and awareness campaigns

Orchid’s research shows there is low awareness of male specific cancers, risk factors and signs and symptoms even amongst those most at risk.  In response Orchid;

  • raises awareness of male cancer and educates men about the risk factors, signs and symptoms of cancer. The Orchid Male Cancer Information Nurses and Community Engagement Team work closely with health and social care professionals, other voluntary organisations, community groups and support networks, schools, universities and local companies to deliver education and health awareness programmes and wellness sessions thereby ensuring men of all ages are well informed.
  • delivers a unique Male Cancer Community Education and Outreach Programme in the heart of targeted local communities via
      • Male Cancer Information Roadshows often in areas of disadvantage
      • with talks and presentations in workplaces and community settings

    about how to identify potential problems regarding male cancers, empowering people with the information to know where and when to seek help if needed, as well as educating them about the current issues regarding male cancers.   In the Covid-19 environment it has not been possible to deliver in the same way and so some of these activities are being delivered virtually.

  • launches every year a Male Cancer Awareness Week, since 2009;
  • has produced award winning campaigns such as #FaceuptoProstateCancer – an easy to remember and understandable acronym for three risk factors of prostate cancer and one major symptom; Family history, Age, Change in urinary habits and Ethnicity
  • increased social media activity including targeting men in specific areas with male cancer messages.

Supporting pioneering, world class research

The programme over the years has aimed to encourage, support and fund research into the causes, prevention and treatment of male cancers. It has identified new ways to treat male cancers and improved our understanding of how these cancers behave.  Orchid is currently supporting;

  • The Robert Lane Tissue Bank incorporating the Circulating Tumour Cell project led by Professors Dan Berney and Yong-Jie Lu.  The Tissue bank is now mature with over 9,000 male-specific cancer tissue samples to facilitate understanding of prostate, testicular and penile cancer and in addition, it has an ongoing collaborative collection of circulating tumour cells.  Collection and validation of tissue from male cancers from high quality clinical trials and cohorts will advance our understanding of these diseases, creating better prognostic and predictive targets for treatment and diagnosis.  The project will also increase understanding of the molecular mechanisms of prostate cancer development, progression and response to therapies and develop biomarkers for the diagnosis, prognosis and treatment response prediction of prostate cancer as well as testicular and penile cancers.

Working in partnership with the business community to make a difference

Orchid is enjoying a number of successful partnerships with the business community including Paperchase, Savoo, Next, Las Iguanas, the LGV Training Company,  The Surrey & Hampshire Training Company and Duke and Dexter.   Orchid has been a proud beneficiary of the BGC Partners’ annual Charity Day 2018 and we were Charity of the Year for ASDA Distribution in 2015 .

Working in partnership with other organisations to make a difference

Orchid is committed to sharing best practice and building partnerships.  We actively work in close collaboration with health and social care professionals, policy makers and other cancer charities to bring about positive change for men and their families.  Organisations we work closely with include Network for Patients, Macmillan Cancer Support, Teenage Cancer Trust, British Association of Urological Nurses, British Association of Urological Surgeons, Cancer Research UK and the Penile Cancer Supra-networks.  Orchid plays a full part in the Cancer Campaigning Group and Cancer52, an equivalent collaborative concerned with less common cancers (i.e. all those except prostate, lung, breast and bowel disease) that together account for around 52% of all cancer deaths in the UK.

Meeting our commitments

Orchid relies on voluntary income to meet its commitments to supporting men, their families and those with an interest in male cancer. Funds are raised through individuals, events, legacies, the business community, trusts and foundations.







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