Premiership players kick prostate cancer into touch this Saturday

Premiership rugby players including Ugo Monye, Danny Care and Tim Payne are backing a new campaign to raise awareness of prostate cancer this season.

Prostate cancer will be one cause that's close to the player's mouths, as well as their hearts, when they don 'The Blue' - a custom fit mouthguard, which for the first time will display The Prostate Cancer Charity's distinctive blue man logo, instead of the traditional white club mouthguards.

The initiative, launched in association with leading mouthguard manufacturer OPRO, will be unveiled on Saturday 3 September, when the 2011/12 AVIVA Premiership season officially kicks off at Twickenham. The London double header will see Saracens take on  Wasps and London Irish up against Harlequins.

Ugo Monye who plays for Harlequins explains: "Blokes spend so much time on going to the gym and looking good but we don't always pay such close attention to our health. With an issue like prostate cancer, which if caught early can be treated successfully, it is really important that we do keep an eye on things."

Ugo adds: "I didn't know that African Caribbean men are three times* more likely to develop the disease than white men - it really is something that we need to think about."

Harlequins' Danny Care, said: "Any man over the age of 50 needs to be particularly aware of prostate cancer. I would encourage all men concerned about the disease to face their fears and go and see their GP, or perhaps call The Prostate Cancer Charity's Helpline to find out more. It is time to put yourself, and your health, first."

It's not only the pros who will be able to wear 'The Blue'. Fans can back the move and help raise funds by ordering their very own 'The Blue'. Custom fit and OPROshield self fit versions are available for pre-order from our website The custom fit mouthguard will retail at between £51.45 and £59.95 (depending on level of protection), the self fit version costs £19.99, with £1 from every OPROshield and £6 from every custom fit mouthguard donated to The Prostate Cancer Charity.

Tim Payne, who plays for Wasps, said: "I hope all our fans out there will show their support for this important cause by donning 'The Blue' this season. But if you prefer to watch from the stands, you can still support the campaign by making sure you're aware of prostate cancer and some of the possible signs and symptoms to look out for. Too many men are affected by this disease so let's confront this together."

As well as key players backing the 'The Blue' this season, the move has also been endorsed by the Rugby Players Association (RPA) who are encouraging other players to show their support and raise awareness of a disease that affects more than 250,000 men in the UK.

Damian Hopley, CEO of the RPA said: "This is a fantastic opportunity for the RPA members to help raise awareness of prostate cancer. By using the player's profile to help promote the key messages, we can take a significant step towards men thinking more seriously about the disease and the potential consequences if they don't have regular check-ups. It is estimated that 1 in 9 men will develop prostate cancer so, by backing The Prostate Cancer Charity's campaign, we are hoping to convince fans to confront the issue rather than shy away from it."

Owen Sharp, Chief Executive of The Prostate Cancer Charity said: "It is fantastic to see the world of rugby getting together to help tackle such an important men's health issue. Despite being the most common cancer in men, it remains a disease that many men can be reluctant to confront. We must challenge this reluctance so that we can begin to reduce the number of men dying from this disease every year. We are excited to be getting information to men about this disease through the rugby pitch - and what better way than to hear it, or should I say see it from the mouths of top players."

*Things have changed since this was published. Find out more.