More than two Kiwi men will die every day from prostate cancer this year – mates fathers, brothers and grandfathers. If you haven't been directly affected by prostate cancer, you're bound to know someone who has.
Each year, the Prostate Cancer Foundation of New Zealand runs its ‘Blue September’ campaign, helping to raise money and awareness for the disease across the country. In honour of Blue September, we’ve collated our top tips to prevent prostate cancer and live a healthy and happy life (take note, guys!).
1: Recognise early warning signs
Men who develop prostate cancer are usually over the age of 65. Although prostate cancer is rare in men younger than 55, it can affect anyone – so it’s important to recognise the warning signs.
While the most important risk factor is ageing, men with a family history of prostate cancer also have a higher risk - so if your father, uncle or brother has had prostate cancer, it might be worth a visit to your GP.
Here are some other red flags:
- Trouble starting or stopping the flow of urine
- Needing urgently to pass urine at any time
- Getting up at night to pass urine more than once
- Feeling a need to pass more urine, even though none comes out
- Pain or burning when passing urine
- Blood in your urine
2: Get a health check (even if you’re healthy!)
Kiwi blokes avoid the doctor at the best of times, but with over 3000 New Zealand men diagnosed with prostate cancer each year, it’s important to take your health into your own hands.
It’s recommended men undergo annual prostate specific antigen (PSA) blood tests and digital rectal exams (DRE) starting at age 50 or earlier.
3: Improve your lifestyle
The key to cancer prevention might very well lie in your hands. Here are a few simple steps to improve your chances of living a long, healthy life:
- Obesity may affect hormone levels related to prostate cancer risk, so eat healthy, balanced meals rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains
- Regular heavy drinking increases your risk, so cut down on alcohol
- Whether you’re into biking, the gym, swimming, walking, tennis or running around with your kids or grandkids, try to maintain at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise three to seven times per week
- Prioritise ‘me time’ to maintain healthy levels of stress (our men’s skincare range) is great for any skin type, and is also safe for men undergoing chemotherapy).