Prostate awareness: Too many men are dying when a simple test could save lives

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It's Blue September and Kiwi men are being told to get over themselves.

Prostate cancer kills 600 men in New Zealand each year.

Graeme Woodside, Prostate Cancer Foundation chief executive said too many men were dying when a simple test could save lives.

"Enough is enough. In 2016 it's time for Kiwi men to take more responsibility for their prostate health, starting from the time they turn 40, especially if there is family history of this disease.

"One in 10 Kiwi men will develop prostate cancer in their lifetime and too many men are dying by leaving their check-ups until it is too late."

About the problem

- Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in New Zealand men and the third most common cause of cancer death in men after lung cancer and bowel cancer.

- One in 10 men will develop prostate cancer in their lifetime.

- About 3000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year in New Zealand.

- About 600 Kiwi men die from prostate cancer each year, that's about the same number as women who die from breast cancer.

- Maori men are 72 per cent more likely to die from prostate cancer once they are diagnosed than non-Maori men.

The impact

- Between 10 to 20 per cent of men with prostate cancer progress to advanced and metastatic prostate cancer within three to five years.

- Prostate cancer is a family issue - there is higher risk if brothers, fathers, uncles have had prostate cancer. If a man has two or more first-degree relatives who were diagnosed with prostate cancer under the age of 65 years, then his risk increases by five to 11 times.

- The effects of having prostate cancer can be devastating on relationships, finances and careers.

- Often those treated are left with unwelcome outcomes of incontinence and erectile dysfunction.

About the testing process

- Early detection saves lives.

- A blood test is all it takes to start the process - simple and quick .

- If you're between 50 to 70 then consider an annual prostate check that includes a PSA blood test and a digital rectal examination (DRE).

- Men over the age of 40 are strongly recommended to have regular prostate checks if there is a family history of prostate cancer.

- Following preliminary blood or DRE tests, if there is an abnormality in results, a biopsy will be taken to make a diagnosis. Additionally there are bone scans, MRI scans and CT/PET scans which determine treatment options.

From funding groundbreaking research to hosting support groups nationwide, every dollar counts this Blue September. Go to to find out how you can face your fear, see famous Kiwis facing their fears and donate to the Prostate Cancer Foundation.

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