Jack Stanley only found out he had prostate cancer due to a lucky coincidence, when a doctor walked into his business in 2001 and said he should have a small growth on his face looked at.

Whangarei man Mr Stanley, now 78, had not seen a doctor since before he was granted residency in 1982.

The doctor, who then became his GP, sent Mr Stanley to the lab for a series of tests, which revealed prostate cancer and led to his life being saved by seven months of hormone treatment and seven weeks of radiation therapy.

Mr Stanley, along with men's health worker Wayne Smith, is re-starting a Prostate Cancer Support Group in Whangarei, after previous attempts to get one happening fell by the wayside.

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The pair hope the group will offer local support to men who have been diagnosed, as well as spreading awareness about the disease.

"My story is probably fairly typical," Mr Stanley said. "It never occurs to us men to go to a doctor ... I grew up during the depression, we didn't have any money and never went very much."

Mr Smith agreed, and said it was time to do away with the "macho" attitudes that characterised the average Kiwi male's attitude to health.

He said the group was open to men and their partners and would offer support, but not clinical advice.

The first group will be at the Cancer Society, 73 Kamo Rd, Kensington on Wednesday September 9, 6.30-8pm.

Call 434 8123 or 027 224 7643 or email whangarei@prostate.org.nz.