REGULAR CHECK-UPS: Gary Larson was diagnosed with prostate cancer seven years ago.
REGULAR CHECK-UPS: Gary Larson was diagnosed with prostate cancer seven years ago. Mike Richards GLA090415GARY

League legend Larson's cancer scare a warning for others

RUGBY league legend Gary Larson was only 44 when he had the biggest health scare of his life - prostate cancer.

Seven years later the healthy father-of-two from Tannum Sands said he was lucky he found out in the early stages of the cancer.

The rugby great isn't alone, with one in five Queensland men diagnosed with prostrate cancer, according to ManUp for Prostate Cancer, an organisation run by mother and daughter team Jill and Leah Costello.

The Costellos lost their husband and father to prostate cancer more than a decade ago and will run a presentation on Friday evening at the Grand Hotel.

"I'm very lucky I was diagnosed in the early stages but it could've gone either way," Mr Larson said. "I could have laid dormant and sat there for many years with nothing done about it or I could have dealt with it. The approach I took was, I've got cancer, let's get it out."

State of Origin Qld vs NSW at Suncorp Stadium. Gary Larson in attack against Paul Harragon and Dean Pay. Game I - May 20, 1996.
State of Origin Qld vs NSW at Suncorp Stadium. Gary Larson in attack against Paul Harragon and Dean Pay. Game I - May 20, 1996. Geoff McLachlan

Mr Larson said he was lucky he had regular check-ups and described the diagnosis as a frightening experience.

"If you've got any symptoms of any diseases in your family you should be getting a check-up as regular as you get your car serviced," he said.

"You'd be playing Russian roulette if you didn't get your health checked if your family has a history.

 

Gary Larson runs the Queen's Baton during the Queen's Baton Relay in Gladstone, for the upcoming 21st Commonwealth Games to be held on the Gold Coast in Australia. 24 March, 2018.
Gary Larson runs the Queen's Baton during the Queen's Baton Relay in Gladstone, for the upcoming 21st Commonwealth Games to be held on the Gold Coast in Australia. 24 March, 2018. Matt Taylor GLA240318BATON

"It was by far the biggest health scare I ever had but I'm thankful to my supportive family and to all the prostate cancer patients I spoke to.

"They helped me understand it better."

 

Gary Larson, Wednesday 9, 2015.

Photo Mike Richards / The Observer
Gary Larson, Wednesday 9, 2015. Photo Mike Richards / The Observer Mike Richards GLA090415GARY