Tim Beere was just 42 when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Three years later, he is raising awareness of the disease for other young men.

The Hamilton resident plans to tackle the six-day Pioneer Mountain Bike Challenge in Queenstown to raise awareness about early detection and the need for more research.

"Us fellas, we're not that good at chatting about this stuff quite openly," he said.

"If I can try send a message out there for young guys to make sure you do go to your GP, do have a chat with your friends, discuss with your GP your family history and the need to be aware, because yeah, it floored me."


Beere's urologist Dr Michael Holmes said prostate cancer was typically found in men in their 60's but these days it's discovered much earlier with PSA screening, raising a tough question.

"Tim is going to live for more than 40 years, perhaps 35," Holmes said. "The problem then becomes, if you treat him now for that prostate cancer, then he has to live with the potential side effects for the rest of life."

Those side effects are enough to make any man nervous.

"What I do is I take the prostate out. When you take the prostate out, you might want to remove the erection nerve. Then the person may never get an erection again, spontaneously," Holmes said.

It's a conundrum for many young men - cancer or a natural sex life - with one consolation that prostate cancer was unlikely to spread quickly, so patients had time to decide.

This dilemma has motivated Beere to raise money to fill, what he sees as a gap in the research.

Men's diets also played a significant role in the probable development of prostate cancer.

"Animal fat and animal meat increases your risk of prostate cancer," Holmes said. "So unfortunately, dairy and red meats are bad for the development [of cancer].


"Soy products protect you and tomatoes cooked in oil protect you. So the Italian diet where you have more fish, more salad and tomatoes cooked in oil is protective for prostate cancer.

"So if you want to have a diet that's healthier for prostate cancer you probably should have more Italian food."

And if Italian wasn't your thing, Holmes also recommended Japanese cuisine.

"If you look at the Japanese, they have a risk of low-grade cancer but not many get intermediate or high-grade cancers.

"If you look at Japanese that migrate to Hawaii, then they start developing breast, bowel and prostate cancer, and get higher grades of prostate cancer.

"And then if they migrate to American mainland, and are there for more than two generations, they develop an American risk - so diet plays a significant role in it."

Holmes said men should check for prostate cancer as early as possible, by seeing their GP for a blood test and rectal examination.

"Suck it up and go get a rectal."

Beere agreed. "You spend more time putting your trousers back on than the actual test itself."

His 'Blu Blokes' prostate cancer campaign launches in the coming weeks - ahead of his bike challenge in Queenstown in November.

September is prostate cancer awareness month in Aotearoa.

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