Media Release: COVID-19 Lockdowns Do Not Stop Prostate Cancer
It is sobering to realise that while we have been in weeks of lockdown many men have missed being diagnosed for prostate cancer, which in time may have dire consequences.
With around 3,500 men diagnosed every year, there are potentially 300 men around New Zealand whose diagnosis has either been delayed, or possibly missed altogether because they were not able to have their regular appointment with their GP or Outpatients clinic.
The Cancer Society expert reporting to Parliament’s Epidemic Response Committee estimated there have been 30% fewer diagnoses of all cancers during lockdown, a number of whom will have prostate cancer.
“Now that we are moving into Level 2 we are urging men over 50, who are due for their regular GP visit and prostate check to make that appointment and get checked” says Graeme Woodside, CEO of the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCFNZ). “Early diagnosis is critical with prostate cancer, as it is with all cancers. Don’t delay making that appointment, especially if there are possible symptoms such as urinary problems” he says.
It is important to get the risk of prostate cancer and its potential lethal consequences in perspective. While we have been focused on COVID-19 and minimising the impact of it spreading, and killing people, tragically, men have continued to die from prostate cancer. In the month-long lockdown an estimated 50 men will have died from prostate cancer – a very sobering statistic.
Support for men with prostate cancer has also been curtailed, with support groups unable to meet face-to-face. However, PCFNZ has ensured support and information has continued via phone and online channels, a series of free webinars and Prost-FIT, an online exercise programme specifically designed for men with prostate cancer that has enabled men to continue to exercise at home. Research clearly shows that regular, appropriate exercise can mitigate the effects of prostate cancer and the various treatment side effects and lead to better quality of life, and even extend life expectancy.
“The message to men is clear” says Graeme, “men need to take responsibility for their health and this includes getting a regular prostate check.”
About Prostate Cancer
- Prostate cancer is the number one cancer diagnosed in Kiwi men with approx. 3500 diagnosed each year.
- It is the third highest in cancer deaths in men – over 600 each year.
- More men are diagnosed with prostate cancer than women with breast cancer.
- The Prostate Cancer Foundation recommends that men over 50 (or over 40 where there is family history) get regular checks for prostate cancer and discuss this with their GP.
- The Foundation provides support to men and families going through a diagnosis and treatments and also living with the effects of their treatments.
- More information about webinars https://prostate.org.nz/webinars/
- More information about Prost-FIT https://youtu.be/Vvo2ACl4fbU
For more information and interviews please contact:
021 242 8072