'Blue September' raises awareness for prostate cancer despite canned campaign

By Mare Haimona-Riki

September is Prostate Awareness Month – a time of year designated to highlighting one of the most common cancers for men in New Zealand.

Supported by a light blue ribbon, the purpose of the month is to promote awareness, education and research of this cancer, which urologist Dr Chris Hawke (Te Arawa) says affects around the same number of men as breast cancer does for women.

“The numbers of cases per year are similar to that of breast cancer."

Dr Hawke says the cancer is unavoidable and getting it largely depends on a combination of genetics and diet, with research showing a spike in prostate cancer patients who have diabetes or obesity.   

“It’s a disease that tends to run in families," he says.

“Most prostate cancers at the early stage don’t have any symptoms. It's only late in the day that prostate cancer will present, say with a lot of difficulties urinating or sometimes with pain in the back or pain in the hip, with cancer already spread.”

Although many campaigns have been halted due to the recent Delta Covid-19outbreak, Hawke the prostate awareness website provides ways people can support this initiative.