My Dad has prostate cancer, so the morning I woke up uncomfortable and unable to pee, all sorts of alarm bells were going off in my head.
I don’t really fit into an age bracket where I should have to worry about prostate cancer, but with a family history it was hard to get the thought out of my head.
Like most guys, after the initial panic, I figured I’d just leave it a day or two to see if things came right by themselves. That classic Kiwi ‘she’ll be right’ attitude. So I said nothing and spent the next couple of days feeling like a dam that’s ready to burst with nothing but a straw to relieve the pressure.
Prostate cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer in New Zealand. Roughly 3000 Kiwi men are diagnosed with the disease each year and more than 600 die from it. However, I think the bigger issue is that us Kiwi blokes are just crap at seeking health advice.
Statistics back this up: Kiwi males go to the doctor three times less than women. We exercise less than women. We’re more likely to die from cancer than women, more likely to commit suicide, more likely to have diabetes and more likely to have a stroke. Typically our food choices are worse than women too; we load up on carbohydrates, eat more junk food and consume more takeaways.
It’s funny how men can look after their prized possessions (that new car, those new wheels) with a level of care and attention that borders on obsession but when it comes to taking our health seriously, we’re content to ignore it and hope for the best.
Hoping for the best is a strategy that very rarely works. I’m pretty sure it’s not the game plan when your car breaks down and I doubt the All Blacks ever came back from a halftime deficit simply hoping for the best. If our prostate is not a prized possession, then I don’t know what is! Things didn’t come right, my situation was revealed and stern words were spoken. “You’re an idiot, go see the bloody doctor!”
"Okay, drop your pants, lie on your side and raise your knees up to your chest."
The glove snaps onto the doctor's wrist and I know what's coming next. I console myself by thinking that this can’t be a good experience for the doctor either.
Turns out I had nothing more than an infection that had spread to my prostate. After a couple of uncomfortable weeks and a course of antibiotics, the floodgates were open. Phew!
I’m happy to adopt a ‘she’ll be right’ approach to a lot of things but guys, this attitude towards our health has got to change. Rather than waiting ‘til we're in dire need of medical attention or support, let's take a more proactive approach to taking care of ourselves, because prevention really is the best cure.
Founder | 127kgs
I’m Shane, a 30-something guy from Wellington, New Zealand. I started my mission to health in 2012 weighing in at 127kgs. I set up my blog 127kgs to share the weight loss and fitness tips that worked for me while I figured out how to lose 60kg in two years. No Diets. No Pills. No Gyms. Along the way I’ve learned a lot about food, fitness, myself and others. I hope my experiences – both my wins and my failures – can help you reach your goals too. Find me on Facebook.