Prostate News

Keep your engine running

Categories: Sharing Stories

Men are reputedly bad about looking after their health.

Maybe it’s that business about men not liking to admit they need advice. If you get lost in a new town, women will ask a passerby, or duck into a nearby shop and ask, whereas men will try to nut it out, perhaps afraid to admit they don’t know something.

I’m a bit like that. Google Maps has been a blessing – now we need never be lost again.

On the other hand, I’ve never been afraid to ask for medical advice – my health is a very precious commodity.

My older brother did me a service when he had a cancer scare some years ago, although I doubt he would have seen it in those terms.

Men seem to have a horror of the digital prostate examination, even though we’re living in a digital world. Nevertheless, I’ve submitted to one from time to time, although recently the PSA test seems to have taken over.

Here are some facts from Dr Google about PSA.

“Prostate-specific antigen, or PSA, is a protein produced by cells of the prostate gland. The PSA test measures the level of PSA in a man’s blood.

“The blood level of PSA is often elevated in men with prostate cancer. In 1994, the FDA approved the use of the PSA test in conjunction with a digital rectal exam to test men for prostate cancer.”

So far, so good. I’ve also had two colonoscopies over the years. The strange business of preparation was famously described by Billy Connolly in a TV sketch. Do a Google search on “Billy Connolly Colonoscopy” and you’ll get a bit of background on what lies ahead.

Apart from the indignity and possible discomfort, I’ve always been really interested to watch a small camera make its way around my insides – but sadly, on both occasions my low tolerance to the sedatives meant I fell asleep during the process.

Not all men share my interest in what goes on inside – they should.

I’m pleased to report that I have a clean bill of health so far, and after one more colonoscopy in a year or two, I’ll be deemed too old to bother with another.

I’m not sure if this means I’ll be too old to worry about saving, or that if I’ve lasted this long without the affliction, then it’s not likely to get me.

Perhaps the uncertainty will be resolved by scientific research – if there’s money for it, that is.

I’m pleased to be able to report that I’m involved in a couple of events that will help to raise awareness of prostate cancer.

The Prostate Cancer Foundation of New Zealand ( oversees a series of events under the Blue September banner. At least two sports events in Nelson fall under this.

I’m involved for the second year in a 5km run and walk on Father’s Day, September 6, primarily organised by MS Ford in Haven Rd. My part is to design the course and supervise the running of it, while others look after the fundraising and publicity.

Since the location of MS Ford is on a busy road, after the preliminaries of registration have taken place, the participants walk to the new walkway by the Maitai River, behind the Trafalgar Centre.

From the walkway, participants head across the footbridge to Trafalgar Park, then link up with the walkway towards Atawhai, circling Founders Heritage Park and Miyazu Park before rejoining the walkway and heading back to the start point.

Entries for the event will be open soon at Families are encouraged to take part, with many mums, dads, kids and pushchairs apparent on race day, as well as a group of older cancer survivors.

Although there were a few sprinters in evidence last year, most people dawdled their way around the course, content to take part and get themselves back to MS Ford for a barbecue and prizegiving.

The second Blue September event I’m involved in isn’t quite so democratic. The Nelson Triathlon Club and Port Nelson Sea Swims have been involved with Placemakers in the Blue September swim for several years now.

In this event, it’s not possible to have family groups taking part. It’s an event more for seasoned sea swimmers, who are required to cover 600 metres in sea temperatures of 14-16 degrees C.

Funds are raised by swimmers attracting sponsors, with prizes (thanks, Placemakers) for those who raise the most funds.

You can bet I’ll be publicising both these events further when the entry websites are open, but in the meantime, you can do your thing by starting to train, at least a little, for the 5km run/walk, and by saving your change to add to the donations for the swim.

Alternatively, you can go straight to now and make your donation.

– The Nelson Mail – Source