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