Simple blood test could save your life: rock legend
WOMEN have long listened and adhered to the message: the importance of early cancer detection. However, when it comes to a similar message getting through to men, it is another story altogether.
Guitarist, songwriter and rock 'n roll legend Tim Gaze wants that changed and as a survivor of prostate cancer himself, he knows the significance of spreading the early detection message.
"Blokes think they are impervious and only see it if it happens to them," he said. "They need to get checked (for prostate cancer), it's a simple blood test, not invasive. Girls have more common-sense when it comes to that sort of thing."
Tim was lead guitarist with Rose Tattoo when his friend and fellow band member Pete Wells died from prostate cancer. When Angry Anderson (lead vocalist with Rose Tattoo) insisted the entire band have regular check-ups, Tim was happy to go along, never for a moment suspecting he already had an aggressive form of prostate cancer. He received the dreadful news on Christmas eve in 2009. He was just 56 and he and his wife Kathy had recently welcomed their son Oliver into the world.
"I am thankful I had a blood test when I did," Tim said. "I had my son in October, two months later I had the terrible news."
Fortunately, Tim responded well to surgery and treatment and has now received a full all-clear with the need for annual tests only. But it is the message to other men he wants to get across.
"Mine (cancer) was contained in time but it could have gone the other way," he said. "It is so important for guys to have regular check-ups, to have information."
Tim Gaze will be performing at the Gympie Music Muster in August where he will have the chance to spread his message now that the iconic event has teamed with the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia to help raise funding for research and to raise awareness and provide support to sufferers and their loved ones.
The Muster will host a Biggest Ever Bloke's lunch where Tim and fellow music legend John Williamson will be special guests.
"It will be interesting to hear what John Williamson has to say," Tim said. "It will be an enlightening experience. So many guys connected with the Muster have had prostate cancer, it is very prevalent. A person doesn't realise this until it happens to them. I am very pleased to be able to talk at the lunch about my experience."
The Gympie Music Muster has helped generate more than $15 million in donations to charity and community groups since its inception in 1982.
Muster Chair, Greg Cavanagh said the choice of this year's charity partner was driven by the disproportionate impact prostate cancer has in rural and regional areas.
"One in five men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer by the age of 85 and statistics tell us the survival rate for those in regional areas is 21 percent lower than anywhere else."
The foundation holds a special place in the heart of the Muster family.
"I love the Muster," Tim said. "I first performed there 15 years ago, it was good then but the last few years have seen it go from strength to strength. I feel darn lucky to be alive, to do what I'm doing now. I'm active with teaching, travelling and doing shows. My doctor said if I hadn't caught this in time, I would have been lucky to get another seven years. Now my little boy is eight and a half, it's fantastic to watch him grow. You don't think like this until you've been affected. I am trying to get that (message) across to guys. They think 'I'll be right' or "I'm too busy" but it only takes five minutes to have a blood test."
Tim Gaze will be performing at Australia's largest charity festival, the iconic Gympie Music Muster, which runs from Thursday, August 23 to Sunday, August 26 in the Amamoor Creek State Forest near Gympie.
The 2018 program will feature hundreds of performances across five stages, covering genres such as country, bluegrass, folk, blues and rockabilly. This year's line-up is made up of 100% home grown Aussie talent.
This year's line-up includes Lee Kernaghan, Troy Cassar-daley, John Williamson, Ian Moss, Beccy Cole, Sara Storer, The Wolfe Brothers, Shane Nicholson, The Pigs, Hat Fitz & Cara, Fiona Boyes, Lloyd Spiegel, Blue Eyes Cry And Many, Many More.
For tickets, go to muster.com.au.