Never a bad time for prostate check
FOR David Heathcote, a 2016 prostate cancer diagnosis came as a bolt from the blue.
"I've lived quite an active and healthy life, so it was a shock to hear I had cancer," he said.
With the conclusion of prostate cancer awareness month Mr Heathcote is encouraging men who didn't get checked to overcome their fears and see a doctor.
"Early diagnosis is the key. Now that I've been diagnosed I told my sons that they will need to start getting regular check-ups from the age of 40," he said.
Ipswich has a cancer diagnosis rate 18 per cent higher than the Australian average, with parts of the region having prostate cancer diagnosis rates more than 25 per cent higher than the rest of the country.
Prostate cancer is still the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australian men and Mr Heathcote urges them not to be 'too embarrassed' to get checked.
"Blokes need to look out for their health - I was lucky to have it caught early, but if I went on any longer without seeing a doctor it might have been much worse," he said.
Mr Heathcote was diagnosed in 2016 and was relieved to be able to receive his radiation treatment close to home at the Radiation Oncology Centres (ROC) Springfield.
"There are a lot of unpleasant side effects that can be quite embarrassing to talk about, but the nurses and all the staff made me feel so at ease," he said.
West Moreton Health Medical Oncologist Dr Ross Cruikshank said that while prostate cancer is most prevalent in men in their 70s, it's vital not to think of the condition as an 'old man's disease.'
"For men 50 and over, I would encourage you to see your GP and have a discussion about getting a check - but if you have a direct relative with a history of prostate cancer you need to be more vigilant and have that discussion sooner," he said.
"A chat with your GP and early detection can save your life, or the life of a loved one."