Visitors to Christchurch Airport this month can't help but
notice a bright blue tower to mark the start of Blue
Now into its fifth year, Blue September aims to get men
(and their loved ones) to face up to prostate cancer through the
message "Go Blue! Face up to prostate cancer".
While the blue colour won't have any impact on passenger
safety, it may encourage male pilots, air crew and travellers to
get checked for prostate cancer.
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in NZ men. It is
to men what breast cancer is to women. 1 in 10 Kiwi men will get it
in their lifetime.
With approximately 3,000 new cases diagnosed each year and
more than 550 dying of the disease, prostate cancer touches the
lives of many New Zealanders.
Christchurch Airport CEO Jim Boult says the airport
company is proud to be supporting Blue September.
"The exterior of the terminal can be lit in a wide range
of colours and we like to use the lighting there and on the tower
to show support for various causes and charities," he
"We have the same number of people through the airport
each day as the total population of Timaru, so the terminal and
tower are seen by a lot of people. Going blue this month is a very
visible reminder to men to consider making a doctor's appointment
for a check that could save their lives."
Airways New Zealand chief executive Ed Sims says Airways
is pleased to support the Blue September message.
"The air traffic control tower is an important part of the
airport landscape. We hope that by supporting this important
awareness-raising campaign we can make a difference to men's
health. Airways staff are active supporters of other
cancer-awareness programmes and this is just one way we can give
something back to the community."
While there's no way of preventing prostate cancer, the
disease is very treatable if caught early enough. Many men are
dying prematurely, simply because they didn't go to the doctor for
Keith Beck, CEO Prostate Cancer Foundation, says early
detection of the disease means those men with prostate cancer have
a chance to be treated before the cancer is incurable.
"Prostate cancer can only be cured when it's contained
within the prostate," he says. "Once it's out of the prostate the
only treatment is palliative, which slows it down but doesn't cure
it," he says.
Men aged over 40 should be encouraged to get an annual
check up from their doctor.
Blue September began in New Zealand in 2008 but has now
spread internationally, with campaigns occurring simultaneously in
the USA, UK, Ireland and Australia.