Oamaru prostate cancer survivor Billy Mitchell has self-funded, printed and laminated hundreds of posters to be displayed in men’s toilets around Oamaru, raising awareness of the symptoms of prostate cancer. He talks to Rebecca Ryan about his campaign.
Billy Mitchell wants to raise awareness about prostate cancer and encourage more Oamaru men to get checked.
The prostate cancer survivor has self-funded, printed and laminated hundreds of posters to be displayed in men’s toilets around Oamaru, raising awareness of the symptoms of prostate cancer.
Posters in the men’s toilets provided a direct link between the purpose of their visit and prostate problems, Mr Mitchell said.
He will display them wherever he can to get the message across, but for now he was focusing on distributing them to local pubs and restaurants.
They will also be put up in Waitaki District Council toilets in the district.
“I’ve got 100 here, and I’ve got another 200 to come,” he said.
Inspiration for the posters came from a similar campaign Mr Mitchell saw in Australia. Posters above a men’s urinal grabbed his attention “immediately”.
Mr Mitchell was diagnosed with prostate cancer in June 2018, after a routine visit to his doctor.
At the time, he did not know the symptoms of prostate cancer, but said if he had read a poster like the ones he was distributing, he could have sought help much earlier.
After radiation treatment, Mr Mitchell now has the “all clear”.
Mr Mitchell heaped praise on Cancer Society Oamaru client support Leanne Kennard for her help with the poster campaign and the “fantastic” work she did to support people who were diagnosed with cancer in Oamaru.
Through Facebook, he has also reached out to people in his hometown of Penzance, in Cornwall. It was possible his poster campaign could go “worldwide”, with friends distributing the laminated signs there, too.
Any local businesses interested in displaying the posters can pick one up from the Oamaru Mail office.
Prostate cancer – the facts
- Only men have a prostate. The prostate gland is the size of a walnut. It is inside the body, in front of the rectum and just below the bladder.
- Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men.
- More than 600 men die in NZ each year from prostate cancer.
- Early prostate cancer has no symptoms. As the cancer grows, it can cause symptoms such as peeing more often, trouble starting or stopping and often getting up at night to pee.
- Risk of prostate cancer increases as men get older. Men with a father or brother with prostate cancer are more than twice as likely to develop it.
- To get checked for prostate cancer, consult with a GP.
Source: Ministry of Health NZ