Two organisations that hope to save lives through the early detection of cancer are hoping for a huge turnout for the Daredevil Run next month.
The annual race where men pound the ground clad in purple Speedos has a serious side behind the frivolous dress code.
It raises hundreds of thousands of rands every year. The money allows the Cancer Association of South Africa (Cansa) and the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) to carry out screening tests, run awareness campaigns and help patients detect prostate cancer early.
The camaraderie among the dare-to-bare-it runners also gives men the balls to break the taboo and talk about prostate and testicular cancer.
“The Daredevil Run is a lot of fun and it combines education with entertainment making it much easier to share the health message with them,” says Andrew Oberholzer, CEO of the PCF.
“It’s a fantastic initiative because it creates a lot of awareness, which is important because men generally don’t talk about health issues. Once they start talking it creates an opportunity to explain the importance of age-appropriate screening for prostate cancer to ensure early detection.”
According to PCF, black men have a sky-high chance of up to one in four of developing prostate cancer, and in white males, the risk is one in eight.
The foundation recommends screening for prostate cancer from the age of 40 for black men and any man with a family history of prostate or breast, and from the age of 45 for all other ethnic groups.
Last year the Daredevil Run donated R503,000 to the PCF and Cansa from the entrance fees. That allowed the organisations to highlight the need for screening, because there are no symptoms in the early stages.
South Africa has one of the world’s highest rates for prostate cancer spreading to other parts of the body because men don’t get screened. There is a 98% survival rate with early detection, but only a 30% chance once it has spread to other parts of the body.
“Early detection saves lives, and the great thing is you can get a Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) blood test for men over 40 at the Daredevil Run for free,” said Oberholzer.
This year’s event will take place on 13 March. Proceeds from the run are used for the MANVan, a mobile health clinic offering PSA tests and cancer health education that reaches even the most rural and underserved areas of the country.
Fathers and their sons can join the run; high school boys have been at the forefront of this campaign over the past few years as testicular cancer can affect men from the age of 15 and upwards.
Men over 18 are asked to donate a minimum of R100 to enter, plus R50 for the Speedos and R10 for a ticket.