Healthy Living in the North

Tales from the man cave: Prostate cancer support group

prostate cancer support group

Prince George Prostate Cancer Support Group

I spoke recently with John Kason of the Prince George Rotary Club. Like most Rotarians, he likes to keep the spotlight on the work being done by the club in collaboration with Canfor – in this case, men’s health screenings for prostate cancer.


On November 10th of last year, the Rotary Club of Prince George organized a men’s health and prostate cancer awareness fundraiser called the “Big Blue Ball,” the first of its kind in northern B.C.

The end result was a sum of money for quarterly men’s health clinics throughout 2013, and startup funds for a local prostate cancer support network (now established, called the “Prince George Prostate Cancer Support Group”). The next sessions are Saturday, May 11, 2013 and Saturday, August 10, 2013.

Don’t you just love the sound of that rubber glove snapping onto the wrist in poetic majesty? The ‘dread,’ or DRE, otherwise known as the digital rectal exam is here to stay.

Please Doctor, why can’t I just have a blood test? 

Well you can but the DRE is a must have. The PSA (prostate specific antigen) blood test is the simplest way to get tested but it can give higher reading for different reasons so the DRE is indeed necessary.

I do know this though – over the years, a sense of humour has been very appropriate to break the ice at that particular moment (while the doctor slips into something more comfortable – that aforementioned rubber glove). It is at least an excuse for a few jokes at work.

Here is where I put in my disclaimer. Some prostate cancers are very slow growing and, in my opinion, the jury is out as to the value of treatment at all, however, it is better to know what is going on and be monitored by your doctor than to bury your head in the sand.

The groups have organized screening events which continue throughout the year. Testing is being provided at no cost to participants and registration is now open.

Please visit or call 250.617.2711 for more information and to register.

Jim Coyle

About Jim Coyle

Jim is a tobacco reduction coordinator with the men’s health program, and has a background in psychiatry and care of the elderly. In former times, Jim was director of care at Simon Fraser Lodge and clinical coordinator at the Brain Injury Group. He came to Canada from Glasgow, Scotland 20 years ago and, when not at work, Jim plays in the band Out of Alba and spends time with his family.


MAN Profile: The Big Blue Ball

Big Blue Ball

A full room at the Big Blue Ball.

In the time that I’ve been with Northern Health’s men’s health program, doing community consultations and talking to men across the region, I’ve seen that men face unique challenges when it comes to their health. One of my biggest goals as NH men’s health coordinator is finding ways that we can make health more accessible to men. We’ve heard from men everywhere that they’re more likely to be responsive to a direct approach where they’re involved in the conversation, and this is why I’m thrilled about the success of The Big Blue Ball.

The Big Blue Ball was a fundraising event in Prince George that took place November 10, with the aim of raising awareness and money for men’s health, prostate cancer programs and Rotary Club community programs. About $46,000 was raised at the event!

Fake mustache

The event was a hit, complete with fake mustaches!

I talked to John Kason, one of the event’s key organizers, and he explained the rationale for organizing the event: “We wanted to create a type of event that can be replicated across the region. We know there was a need in the community, because often men don’t talk about their health until it might be too late.”

The Big Blue Ball is an example of community partners coming together from across Prince George to raise awareness about men’s health. The night featured great entertainment by Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne and a keynote address by Dr. Art Hister.

“Health care is something that affects everyone,” John noted, and thanks to the effort of this great event’s organizers, men’s health awareness continues to grow in our region.

Please visit for more information on Men’s Health, and to participate in the Month of Man activities we have going on for the month of November!

Brandon Grant

About Brandon Grant

As the NH men’s health coordinator, Brandon Grant travels across the Northern Health region speaking with community members about the health issues men face and what we can do to improve men’s health. He has worked with a variety of community-based organizations, including the Nawican Friendship Centre and the Northern Family Health Society, and holds two master’s degrees, one in social work and one in public administration. To stay active, Brandon enjoys playing golf and tennis, and whenever possible, visits tropical destinations to go snorkeling. (Brandon no longer works with Northern Health, we wish him all the best.)