Face your fears and get checked
Merv Stark thought he was invincible until the day a biopsy confirmed his worse fears.
He’d already dealt with stomach cancer back in 1999 and had been given the all-clear for more than a decade.
When the Aucklander began noticing problems he thought he’d be fine, as three of his brothers had been diagnosed and successfully treated for enlarged prostate.
The first digital examination and blood tests seemed to affirm that to be the case.
After 18 months of treatment to reduce the size of the prostate he underwent a biopsy in June 2013 which confirmed it was cancer.
‘‘Sure, no one wants to hear that they have prostate cancer but why let our egos and macho image be a barrier to getting checks.‘‘
Once he was diagnosed with cancer and given the limited options for his treatment, Stark underwent a radical prostatectomy in October 2013 to remove the prostate however he still needed an intensive course of oncology radiation.
Check-ups and blood tests confirmed the operation and radiation had been successful and there was
Around 3000 Kiwi men diagnosed every year.
1 in 10men will develop prostate cancer in their lifetime.
Around 600 men die from prostate cancer every year.
no detection of cancer.
‘‘But my manhood took a serious bashing - urinary incontinence, erectile dysfunction and the crown jewels appeared to have shrunk.’’
For Stark it has been the aftermath of cancer and semi-retirement he’s struggled with.
‘‘I found it all very depressing, to the point I was diagnosed as having depression.’’
But it hit home for Stark when his urologist told him he could’ve died if he hadn’t undergone surgery.
‘‘But through all this, my pillar of strength and support has been my wife and family.’’
Stark is taking things a bit slower now but is wanting to live and enjoy life despite some of the physical challenges.
‘‘We men just don’t want to hear that we might have prostate cancer.’’
Go to prostate.org.nz/ for more information.