Workers take health message on board

Southbase construction site manager George Bushell gets his blood tested by Awanui phlebotomy...
Southbase construction site manager George Bushell gets his blood tested by Awanui phlebotomy team leader Jane Walker. PHOTO: LINDA ROBERTSON
At noon yesterday, Southbase staff started a slightly different lunch break to that which they are used to.

The men, who are working on the new Dunedin Hospital build, had a blood test to check their levels of prostate specific antigen — or PSA.

The PSA test is the most effect method of initial testing for prostate cancer.

Southbase worked with the Prostate Cancer Foundation to offer testing to its employees after its Dunedin support co-ordinator Ken Cook spoke to staff one lunchtime to raise awareness about prostate cancer and the significance of testing.

What he told the 80 workers that lunchtime inspired a significant number of them to get tested.

Michael Trembath, a quantity surveyor with the company, said listening to Mr Cook’s story influenced his choice to get tested.

"I figured I had nothing to lose by getting it done."

As a prostate cancer survivor himself, Mr Cook said he was delighted his talk had encouraged the Southbase workers to get tested.

The simple blood test checks the levels of prostate specific antigens in people’s bodies.

If the levels are slightly higher than normal for someone’s age, further testing of the prostate may be required.

With one in eight men getting prostate cancer across the country, Mr Cook said he advised all men over 50 to get tested.

"The results go on each person’s medical records, which is important to show changes in results over time; which can help people get on to things early if necessary."

Having had his position with the Prostate Cancer Foundation for the past 12 years, Mr Cook said he was active in the community and held regular support groups for men with prostate cancer.

 - By Olivia Judd