Spare your blushes, men, and get checked for prostate cancer.
That’s the message celebrity gossip columnist David Hartnell wants to get across during the Prostate Cancer Foundation of New Zealand awareness month.
The Westmere resident lost his best friend of more than 50 years, theatre director and choreographer Robert Young, to prostate cancer in December last year.
“The last six months of his life it just took hold. It is just unbelievable aggressive,” Hartnell says.
“He handled it with grace dignity and humour – I don’t know if I would have handled it as well as he did really.”
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in New Zealand men. About 3000 are diagnosed and more than 600 die each year.
young announced he had terminal prostate cancer in 2012 in a bid to encourage men to get regular checkups.
“Too many men put off going to see their doctor. I wasn’t one of them, but I still got caught out.”
Men should undergo annual prostate specific antigen blood tests and digital rectal exams starting at age 45 or earlier.
Having the test could save your life, Hartnell says.
“Men just don’t talk about prostate cancer. The digital rectal exam still puts so many off getting tested but it’s a matter of seconds – it’s no big deal.”
Hartnell became an ambassador for the Prostate Cancer Foundation of New Zealand this year in Young’s memory.
“I spent the last 10 days with Robert and I told him I was going to do something in regards to prostate cancer, so he knew before he died that I was going to do it for him.”
He is holding a celebrity trivia quiz night this month to raise funds for the foundation’s awareness campaign Blue September.
All funds raised will go towards supporting the foundation’s helplines, research and public education about prostate and testicular cancer.
The Sky Tower turned blue on Monday to mark the beginning of Blue September and will be lit up for the whole month to help raise awareness.
From Auckland City Harbour News Sept 2014
by Jess Lee