2 Nov, 2023

Be aware of prostate cancer

Pacific men's health exercise park outdoors

Prostate cancer is not really a topic that comes up in conversation very often, is it? It's actually not something that guys think about much either. And that's understandable! After all, it involves a personal area of men's health.

But when something is not quite right, symptoms appear which are nature's way of waving a flag which would probably say, "Hey, it's time to chat with your doctor!".

The more people who know about prostate cancer, the more likely it will come up in conversations that lead to early diagnosis.

What are the symptoms of prostate cancer?

Often, prostate cancer doesn’t cause symptoms, especially in the early stages. It can remain undetected for some time and still not cause symptoms.

Symptoms may include the following, but please note, many are common in men as they age, often caused by other prostate conditions such as an enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH).

  • Feeling the frequent or sudden need to urinate, especially at night
  • Finding it difficult to urinate (e.g. trouble starting or not being able to urinate when the feeling is there)
  • Discomfort when urinating
  • Finding blood in urine or semen (never ignore this)
  • Pain in lower back, upper thighs or hips
  • Bone pain
  • Unexpected weight loss

Always see your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms.

To help decide if you should see a doctor for a prostate check, use this online tool by Kupe to answer a few quick questions: 

While checking symptoms when they appear is really important, men also need to know that prostate cancer doesn’t always show symptoms right away. That's why it’s crucial that they don’t skip their check-ups. We encourage all men to have the prostate chat with their doctor from about the age of 40 years, even if they feel just fine! This way they are doing all they can to be aware and learn how to preserve their prostate health for the years ahead.

What is prostate cancer?

Prostate cancer is a common cancer in older men. It causes the cells in the prostate gland (which is just under the bladder) to multiply. This leads to tumours which can spread to the rest of the body. We don't know the cause of prostate cancer, however certain things like age, ethnicity, genetics and family history can increase the risks of developing it.

Studies have shown that Pasifika men have a higher prostate cancer mortality rate.

Early detection is the key to the successful treatment of prostate cancer.

For more information about prostate cancer go to:

Where can men get tested?

Medical professionals recommend men aged 50 and over discuss prostate testing with their doctor. And for men with a known family history of prostate cancer, this discussion should begin at 45 years of age, or from 40 if known to have the BRCA2 mutations (elevated risk). It is really important to ask whānau if there is a family history of prostate cancer, as unfortunately, many people only discover a family history after being diagnosed with prostate cancer. We encourage men to take charge of their health and wellbeing and ensure that they get tested regularly. One of the best ways to prevent prostate cancer is to discuss any concerns and get advice on testing from your doctor as soon as they appear. For more information about testing, go to: 

To help decide if you should see a doctor for a prostate check, use this online tool by Kupe by answering a few quick questions: