Prostate cancer survivor's call to 'man up'
STEVE Baker was one of the lucky ones.
He was diagnosed with prostate cancer in February and had it safely removed, but the reality is prostate cancer remains a bigger killer of men than breast cancer is to women.
Steve went through life unaware of the dangers it posed - that was until his father was also diagnosed with prostate cancer 10 years ago.
Steve's father lost his battle earlier this year, but Steve had become aware of its hereditary nature and began annual PSA testing.
"I went along to doctor for general check-up. I had been getting PSA tests for cancer every year," he said.
"My PSA has gone up double in four years, so he got me to see a specialist.
"He (the specialist) got me to do another blood test and a physical - that's the one where you have to take doctor out to dinner afterwards - the finger up the backside."
At 54, Steve was able to be operated on and his prostate was removed, but the cancer still kills more than 3000 men per year.
Steve believes it's because of the emasculating stigma attached to examination.
"There's no self-examination like there is for breast cancer - the doctor has to put the finger where they don't want him to and they find it embarrassing and I can understand that," he said.
"But the alternative is cancer.
"It's to do with sexual prowess as well and that's a big 'no no' for men. They think 'nah, I'm not sick, I'm still a stud in bed', because there are no obvious symptoms.
"It's considered an old man's disease, that you get it later on in life at 70 or 80, so guys don't get it checked, but prostate cancer is a slow growing cancer that creeps up on you to the point that it's too late."
Doctors recommend getting annual PSA blood tests for men above 50, and 40 for those who have a family history of prostate issues.
Visit http://prostate.org .au/ or see your GP for more information.