FORMER Bundaberg MP Jack Dempsey has spoken for the first time about his battle with breast cancer.
"It was the last thing I would have expected. It's not something that you would bring up in conversation with your mates - for a lot of men, I think it's an 'out of sight, out of mind' mentality," Mr Dempsey said.
He has been named as the 2015 patron of Cancer Council's Bundaberg Relay For Life.
Mr Dempsey underwent a mastectomy last year and is now fit and healthy, and he's determined to use his experience to give hope to others touched by the disease.
He hopes sharing his story will inspire men to talk about their health and potentially save someone's life.
"I want men to know it does happen, and to get over the embarrassment - a simple check and addressing those early signs might just save your life," he said.
"I lost my older brother to brain cancer last year too, so being the patron this year is an honour and a cause close to the heart."
Cancer Council Queensland spokeswoman Katie Clift said CCQ were thrilled to have such a passionate and inspiring supporter on board as a patron this year.
"We want to acknowledge Mr Dempsey's enthusiasm for Relay For Life and his commitment to help reduce the burden of cancer in our community," Ms Clift said.
Cancer Council Queensland will launch the 2015 Bundaberg Relay For Life next Saturday at Hinkler Shopping Centre from 10am.
To find out more, head to http://www.relayforlife.org.au.