Dig­i­tal ex­am­i­na­tions ‘no big deal’ for men

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By JESS LEE

Spare your blushes, men, and get checked for prostate can­cer.

That’s the mes­sage celebrity gossip colum­nist David Hart­nell wants to get across dur­ing the Prostate Can­cer Foun­da­tion of New Zealand aware­ness month.

The West­mere res­i­dent lost his best friend of more than 50 years, the­atre di­rec­tor and chore­og­ra­pher Robert Young, to prostate can­cer in De­cem­ber last year.

‘‘The last six months of his life it just took hold. It is just un­be­liev­ably ag­gres­sive,’’ Hart­nell says.

‘‘He han­dled it with grace, dig­nity and hu­mour – I don’t know if I would have han­dled it as well as he did re­ally.’’

Prostate can­cer is the most common can­cer in New Zealand men. About 3000 are di­ag­nosed and more than 600 die each year.

Young an­nounced he had ter­mi­nal prostate can­cer in 2012 in a bid to en­cour­age men to get reg­u­lar check­ups.

‘‘Too many men put off go­ing to see their doc­tor. I wasn’t one of them, but I still got caught out.’’

Men should un­dergo an­nual prostate spe­cific anti­gen blood tests and digi- tal rec­tal exams start­ing at age 45 or ear­lier.

Hav­ing the test could save your life, Hart­nell says.

‘‘Men just don’t talk about prostate can­cer. The dig­i­tal rec­tal exam still puts so many off get­ting tested but it’s a mat­ter of seconds – it’s no big deal.’’

Hart­nell be­came an am­bas­sador for the Prostate Can­cer Foun­da­tion of New Zealand this year in Young’s mem­ory.

‘‘I spent the last 10 days with Robert and I told him I was go­ing to do some­thing in re­gards to prostate can­cer, so he knew be­fore he died that I was go­ing to do it for him.’’

He is hold­ing a celebrity trivia quiz night this month to raise funds for the foun­da­tion’s aware­ness cam­paign Blue Septem­ber.

All funds raised will go to­wards sup­port­ing the foun­da­tion’s helplines, re­search and pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion about prostate and tes­tic­u­lar can­cer.

The Sky Tower turned blue on Mon­day to mark the be­gin­ning of Blue Septem­ber and will be lit up for the whole month to help raise aware­ness.

Get checked: Celebrity gossip colum­nist David Hart­nell has be­come an am­bas­sador for the Prostate Can­cer Foun­da­tion of New Zealand in mem­ory of his friend Robert Young who died of prostate can­cer.

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