WDHB launches Blueday to highlight men's cancer

13 June 2017


Whanganui District Health Board (WDHB) staff are being urged to wear blue on Tuesday 20 June to show their support for Whanganui’s inaugural Blueday dedicated to raising awareness about men’s cancer.


WDHB health promoter Sarah Hawken says Blueday has been timed to take place in Whanganui’s Men’s Health Month - another inaugural event launched and supported locally in June.


“One area of focus for Men’s Health Month is men’s cancers which is a huge and very worrying issue for men nationwide,” Ms Hawken says. “The figures are very sobering.”


  • Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in New Zealand men. It mainly affects men over 50 years of age, and it kills more than 600 Kiwi men every year.
  • Around 1500 New Zealand men are diagnosed with bowel cancer each year and most bowel cancer occurs in people over 50.
  • Skin cancer is another common cancer in New Zealand. The most serious skin

cancer is melanoma with around 1200 men diagnosed each year.

  • While testicular cancer is quite rare, around 150 men are diagnosed annually. It is a cancer that occurs most in younger men aged 18-39 years.
  • Lung cancer is the leading cause of death from cancer in New Zealand men, with around 900 men dying each year.


Ms Hawken says families and loved ones are losing husbands, sons, brothers and fathers to deaths which, in some cases, could have been prevented if the men had booked regular health checks.


“Our men can, and must, reduce their risk of cancer by seeking early detection,” Ms Hawken says.  “Seeing your doctor to discuss cancer checks and form a plan to maintain or improve your health is the first step.


‘We need increased awareness around men’s health within our families, sports clubs, community networks and workplaces so I urge local businesses and organisations to start these conversations by turning Tuesday 20 June into ‘Blueday’. 


“We challenge businesses to encourage staff to wear blue to show the importance of men’s health and men specific cancers, hold a morning tea, or join up in other ways to raise awareness and reinforce why it’s important for us all to take control of our health.” 


Ms Hawken says she hopes people might take the opportunity to fundraise for the Cancer Society Ph (06 3487402) which is totally reliant on charitable donations. 


Anyone wanting resources and information to support their workplace participation in Blueday is invited to contact Sarah Hawken at Whanganui DHB’s Public Health Centre on (06) 348 3097 or visit www.getthetools.org.nz.