Come clean to stop cancer

ALL young men should give themselves a birthday present this year that could possibly save their lives.

This is the message from Tweed Coast Prostate Awareness convenor Ross Davis after alarming new research that predicts males diagnosed with prostate cancer will double over the next 10 years.

The new figures call for a much greater emphasis on men getting themselves checked out, as prostate cancer is already the most diagnosed cancer in Australia with 18,700 confirmed cases each year.

Mr Davis helped found the Prostate Awareness Group in 2005 after having a close call with the cancer and not knowing who to talk to.

He says while there is much speculation on reasons for the expected increase, they can't put their finger on the main cause yet.

Mr Davis says one of the major problems with prostate cancer is that younger men believe they are not at risk.

“The majority of prostate cancer cases are men above 50, but there have been a number of recent cases of men in their 40s falling victim to the cancer,” Mr Davis said.

“I put a prostate cancer survey out in the Tweed last month and found 10 guys in their 40s who had it.”

Mr Davis says men must stop being so private when it comes to cancer and start talking about it.

“We need to get over all this privacy stuff and get checked out. Men should give themselves a birthday present once a year and go and see their doctor,” he said.

Tweed Valley Division of GPs spokesman Dr Graeme Burger has witnessed a healthy increase in local men booking themselves in for a prostate check-up over the past five years, but agrees more needs to be done in changing men's attitudes about going to the doctor.

“Men have always been much less likely to go to the doctors than women, they're more likely to service their cars than service themselves,” Dr Burger said.

One of the main reasons for the increase in men getting a prostate check-up over the past five years has been the new testing procedures that eliminate the dreaded physical examination.

“Today a prostate check-up is just another blood test that you only have to get once every twelve months with your cholesterol levels and liver function.”

Dr Burger believes the number of cancer awareness initiatives have had a positive effect on men's health in Australia and encourages local GPs and cancer awareness groups to get behind these campaigns to encourage greater local participation.

Prostate Awareness talks are held on the first Friday of each month at Tweed City Shopping Centre's community hall at 9am.

Call (07) 5599 7576 for more information.

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