Lifestyles

Man up and give prostate cancer the finger

Men’s health comes under the spotlight over the next few months, most notably with the high-profile campaigns "Movember" and "Blue September", the Prostate Cancer Foundation of New Zealand’s national awareness campaign.

"Every man has one, but most men don’t know anything about the prostate gland. It’s only when problems arise that men generally tend to take it seriously," says Graeme Woodside, chief executive of the Prostate Cancer Foundation of NZ.

Prostate cancer is the number one cancer in New Zealand men, with around 3,000 diagnoses each year. About 1 in 10 men will get prostate cancer in their lifetime, which is why regular checks are so important.

In particular, the risk of developing prostate cancer increases as men age. And while it’s not common in men under 50, if there is a family history of the disease in close male relatives then the risk increases. The risk is doubled if a father or brother has been diagnosed, while if there are two or more relatives diagnosed under the age of 65 then the risk increases between 5 to 11 times. [Source]

Graeme says: "Men over 50 should consider having a regular check for prostate cancer using both the blood test and Digital Rectal Examination (DRE), as having a combination of both tests gives the health professional the best indicator of the possibility of disease."

"This disease is serious, but if detected early enough it can be treated effectively."

For more information and to find out how you can be involved in the Blue September campaign, go to www.blueseptember.org.nz.