Management

Don’t ignore the warning signs

By Rick Bayne

John Vogels was sitting in the tractor doing the annual harvest last spring when he realised something was seriously wrong.

“Every hour I’d need to stop to urinate and I’d get off the tractor and just go dribble-dribble,” he said.

The warning signs had been there for a while but, like many men, he ignored them.

“When I started having to get up three or four times a night to urinate, I should have thought this is not right,” he said.

“I never used to do that but I kept putting it off.

“My story is pretty simple: I didn’t take enough note of what my body was telling me.”

After the problem got worse during the harvest, he decided it was time to act.

Tests found a very aggressive prostate cancer which had already spread to his lymph nodes in his groin.

“They told me I was in a fair bit of strife,” John said.

“When I first starting having these problems three or four years ago, I was told I had an enlarged prostate but not to worry about it, I’d be fine.

“All I was told to do was to keep monitoring and have PSA tests.

“I wish I had asked more questions so I could better understand my options.”

John has shared his story in the hope of encouraging all men to get tested if they have warning signs

“What I want to tell men is: don’t be scared of a test.

“Most of the time, it’s fine — and even if you have prostate cancer, if they find it in time you’ll probably still die of old age before the cancer gets you.”

John’s cancer is aggressive and was found late and will be an ongoing issue.

He is undertaking radiation treatment and remains positive he will manage the condition.

“My oncologist explains it like traffic lights. I’m on amber, I won’t be reversing back into green but I’m not in the red.

“It doesn’t mean I’m going to be written off, but I need to be careful and stay in the amber.”