A promise made to a friend before he passed away prompted Taylors Contracting Rivers Department supervisor Iain ‘Hoggy’ Hogg to get the annual check ups that may have saved his life.
“I had a good friend who was diagnosed with cancer in his late 40s,” says Hoggy. “He was only 50 when he died. Prostate cancer was a part of it. I promised him I’m go on my birthday each year for a check up.”
Even though he had no symptoms, it was as a result of one of those annual check ups that a blood test revealed Hoggy’s elevated PSA levels.
“That’s the beauty of going every year and getting checked,” he says. “If you do have it, you’ll at least know within a year.”
After being referred to a urologist and having biopsies taken, Hoggy had a prostatectomy (the removal of his prostate).
“Two years after that my PSA levels started to lift again so I had eight weeks of radiation therapy in Christchurch.”
It’s now eight years since the cancer was first detected and Hoggy is fit and well. “I’m good. I’m still monitored annually and my PSA levels are well down and she’s all good.”
Hoggy says that having Southern Cross health insurance made his whole experience much easier than it might have been.
“I can’t say enough for Taylors, who pay for our health insurance, and for Southern Cross. With the way that the public health system is at the moment it can be easy to fall through the cracks.”
While a cancer diagnosis and subsequent treatment can be a very hard process, Hoggy says he’s found that it doesn’t pay to dwell on the potential downsides.
“Think positive, go with the flow, and trust in the system. That’s key for the whole thing in terms of your mental wellbeing.”
Hoggy says that with one in seven men diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime it’s important men get regular health checks and talk to each other about the process to normalise it.
“All my mates know about my experience. If the topic comes up I tell them to get checked. If anyone wants to talk about it they can come and talk to me.”
(This month is MOVEMBER which is focused on prostate cancer, testicular cancer, men’s mental health, and suicide. A big thank you to Hoggy for his willingness to share his personal story in order to help others)