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Prostate Now The Most Common Cancer In New Zealand Men

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Prostate Now The Most Common Cancer In New Zealand Men

Next week marks the launch of Blue September, international prostate cancer awareness month. Countries worldwide are encouraging people to "get blue" and face up to a disease that figures now show is the most common cancer in New Zealand men.

In New Zealand 1 in 10 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer and 600 will die annually.

"These figures are alarming because they are higher than the road toll," says Keith Beck, CEO of the Prostate Cancer Foundation of New Zealand.

Newly appointed patron for the Prostate Cancer Foundation of New Zealand and tireless advocate for men's health, Sir Peter Leitch (aka The Mad Butcher), says Kiwi males are notoriously bad at facing up to their own health.

"We end up spending more time checking the health of our cars than going to the doctor. It's time we faced up to the reality of a disease that's killing too many of our men," he says.

Now facing his own battle with bladder cancer, Sir Peter Leitch has lead by example and saw his GP immediately when he felt something wasn't quite right. Sir Peter has continued to push men to take their health seriously, saying that early detection can help prevent fatal illness.

Prostate Cancer Foundation CEO, Keith Beck, says that the frustrating thing with prostate cancer is that death from the illness could be halved by early detection.

"Because symptoms of the disease do not usually show until further down the track most men don't know they have it. We could prevent a lot of these deaths if all men over 40 visited their doctor more regularly and had an annual Prostate Specific- Antigen (PSA) test."

Blue September 2010 will launch with a 'blue-tie' cocktail and charity auction event compared by high profile prostate cancer survivor Paul Holmes.

To mark support for the cause, New Zealand landmarks country-wide will be lit blue, including Auckland's Sky Tower, Napier's Tom Parker Fountain, the entire Upper Hutt CBD, and Dunedin's Robbie Burns statue.

On Blue Friday, (September 3) 600 blue crosses will be positioned in key centres throughout the country to symbolise the men who die each year from prostate cancer.

The Prostate Cancer Foundation encourages schools, businesses and community groups to "get blue" and organise an event on Blue Friday to make a difference.

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