Tauranga's mayor to take leave after cancer diagnosis

Source: 1News

Tauranga Mayor Tenby Powell has recently been diagnosed with prostate cancer and will take leave to undergo treatment.

Tauranga City Council this morning confirmed Powell would step down from his role on November 20 to undergo surgery for the disease.

In a statement, the council said Powell, who has long been an advocate of a proactive approach to men’s health issues, was fortunate to have received an early diagnosis.

Powell intends to be back to his duties as early as possible next year.

In the meantime, Deputy Mayor Tina Salisbury will take over his responsibilities.

"I remain fully committed to my role through until my leave period commences and look forward to taking up the reins again as quickly as possible next year, and to participating in the preparation of a progressive and transformational 2021-31 long-term plan, which will set the foundations for our city’s future," Powell said.

"I have complete faith in my specialist, professor Peter Gilling, and the medical team here in Tauranga and am heartened by the treatment plan available to me."

Powell is using his own diagnosis to encourage other men to have regular health checks.

"Age is the most important prostate cancer risk factor, with the incidence of the disease climbing alarmingly with age. Men who develop prostate cancer are mostly over the age of 65, so I am relatively young to have been diagnosed with this disease, following a routine health check."

Every year, more than 3500 New Zealand men are diagnosed with prostate cancer, according to the Prostate Cancer Foundation.