Former All Black reveals brush with cancer

Former All Blacks player and coach Wayne Smith has revealed he had his prostate removed last year after being diagnosed with cancer.

Former All Blacks player and coach Wayne Smith has revealed a brush with cancer after having his prostate removed last month.

Smith, was given the all clear last week and says his experience might encourage other men in their 50s to get tested to set a marker.

"It doesn't mean you've got but if it is there, you can fix it," he told Fairfax Media.

Smith said he was getting blood tests every six months and his doctor noticed a change in his levels of prostate specific-antigen - which led to him getting a digital examination.

A CT scan showed the cancer was confined to the prostate and Smith decided to have it removed.

"The whole operation and the recovery was easier than some of the rugby injuries I've had," he said.

He said the cancer was not behind his decision last year to quit the All Blacks coaching team.

"But what's happened did clarify for me that I'd made the right decision," he added.

The 17-Test All Black is regarded as one of the game's smartest minds, helping to oversee World Cup wins in 2011 and 2015 alongside head coaches Graham Henry and Steve Hansen respectively.

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