Regional | Prostate Cancer

Te Ururoa Flavell reveals prostate cancer diagnosis

“I will be fighting it with everything I have.”

These were the words of former Te Pāti Māori co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell as he announced his cancer diagnosis in a statement on his Facebook page this afternoon.

“Tēnā tātou katoa e te iwi,” Flavell’s post said.

“I wanted to share some personal news with you today. After one of my routine medical check-ups, I have been diagnosed with prostate cancer.”

Flavell’s statement revealed he had his first round of chemotherapy and hormone treatment two weeks ago.

“I am leaning on Western medicine, traditional Māori rongoā, and healers as well as other alternative therapies.

“I have five more treatments to go through every three weeks. The treatment itself is straightforward forward but the side effects are not flash at all.”

In between treatments, Flavell’s statement said there was time to regain strength and “slowly get back to normal”.

“But rest is important as are some lifestyle changes. I miss my treats but I am doing all that has been asked of me. I never knew what it was like to have one Gingernut biscuit last for sooo long at cuppa tea time.”

Flavell said he was “in a good place” at the time of the post.

“Physically I am very good except when the treatment kicks in. Mentally, I am confident I will be good because that’s how I feel. Round two next week!”

Flavell’s statement said that his involvement in the Smear Your Mea campaign promoting cervical cancer smears for wāhine meant that Flavell had always been an advocate for “sharing our challenges”.

“So I wanted to let you know what has happened and the journey ahead of me.”

Flavell said the cancer was detected in a blood test during one of his regular six-monthly health check-ups.

“It was found in me earlier than most but the damn thing still spread itself quickly even in six months. It is in my body and luckily I have started treatment almost immediately to deal with it.”

Flavell’s statement said he wanted people to know that “none of us are immune” and sometimes “regular checks don’t quite catch it early enough”.

“Please get those checks done, especially for those of you who are at higher risk, like men over 50 or those with a family history of prostate cancer.”

Flavell encouraged open conversations with healthcare providers and loved ones about the importance of early detection, especially for young people.

Flavell’s statement said he was surrounded by an amazing team of medical people, whānau, and friends who are providing me with the best care and support possible.

“Erana my wife as always, is beside me ensuring things are taken care of. Our tamariki and mokopuna are with us too. I am very lucky.”

To close his statement, Flavell said he would be using his platform and experience to highlight inequities in healthcare.

“I have seen healthcare inequalities firsthand based on factors such as race, income, and geographic location. I am so lucky to have had insurance. But, no one should have to face health challenges without equitable access to care and support.”

Flavell’s statement requested the public’s understanding and respect for his and his whānau’s privacy.

“I will continue to share updates with you when I can. I will be fighting it with everything I have. E mihi ana ki a koutou. Mā te wāhi ngaro tātou e manaaki.”