Driv­ing home prostate can­cer mes­sage

The Leader (Nelson) - - FRONT PAGE - SKARA BOHNY

‘‘If you catch it early, you don’t have to die.’’

That’s the mes­sage from Bill Fergie, of the Nel­son Prostate Can­cer Foun­da­tion sup­port group. He and his team of win­dow-wash­ers are work­ing at the Z petrol sta­tion on Hal­i­fax Street to raise aware­ness for prostate can­cer and en­cour­age early test­ing.

The Prostate Can­cer Foun­da­tion re­ceives char­i­ta­ble dona­tions from Z through their Good in the Hood pro­gramme, and they will be there on Tues­day vol­un­teer­ing to hand out fliers and wash win­dows.

‘‘It’s not fair to al­ways push for money, but we will push all day ev­ery day for bet­ter aware­ness,’’ Fergie said.

‘‘We will be the cat­a­lyst, I hope, for hun­dreds of men to get tested.’’

Fergie has been af­fected by prostate can­cer him­self, and is pas­sion­ate about pre­vent­ing other men from suf­fer­ing the ‘‘hor­ri­ble’’ side ef­fects of not only the can­cer, but also the treat­ments for late-stage can­cer, which he said were ‘‘lifeal­ter­ing’’.

‘‘If you find it by get­ting tested by your GP, it’ll save your life ... If you wait un­til you have symp­toms be­fore you treat it your chances of sur­vival are greatly re­duced,’’ he said.

Prostate can­cer is the most com­monly di­ag­nosed can­cers in men in New Zealand.

The big­gest risk-fac­tor for de­vel­op­ing prostate can­cer is aging, which is why Fergie says all men over the age of 50 should ‘‘in­sist’’ on get­ting an­nual checks.

He said men with any fam­ily his­tory of prostate can­cer should start get­ting an­nual check-ups once they turned 40.

BRADEN FASTIER/ STUFF

Bill Fergie urges men to get reg­u­lar check-ups for prostate can­cer, and for women to en­cour­age the prac­tice.

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