Who we are


Our group is a friendly, voluntary association of men who have been diagnosed as having prostate cancer, and their partners. Such men have either undertaken treatment for prostate cancer, or are evaluating the various treatment options. We are not funded by any governmental or private body. Our activities are undertaken by members who contribute their time voluntarily. Expenditure made by the group is sourced through donations and fund-raising activities. There is no membership fee.

Role of the group

Our role is to:
  • provide information, support and assistance to men who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer and/or been treated for prostate cancer, and their partners
  • provide information to anyone who has an interest in or concern about prostate health, including people who have not yet been diagnosed as having prostate cancer, particularly those who have a higher than normal risk of prostate cancer because of their age, ethnicity or family history)
  • promote awareness within the broader community of the incidence of prostate cancer and the importance and benefits of early detection
  • provide assistance to the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia (PCFA)
  • provide information resources that can be accessed by anyone who has a need for information about prostate health, diagnosis and treatment options
When a man has indications of prostate cancer it usually comes as a nasty shock to him, his family and friends. When making decisions about diagnosis, treatment options and rehabilitation there are benefits from discussing things with people who have undergone those processes.

While the group and its members
do not provide medical advice they can help the newly diagnosed man, his partner and those concerned about his welfare to understand the options available, and how these options can be accessed. They can also provide views on what may lie ahead after treatment has been undertaken.

Views and information from our members can be obtained through attendance at one of our regular monthly meetings or by contacting individual members.  If you have immediate concerns about prostate health or problems and would like to discuss them now, don't wait for a monthly meeting - contact us by phone or email - details are on this page.  

Regular monthly meetings

Informal monthly meetings are held in the evening on the 3rd Wednesday of each month except in December. At these meetings a wide range of topics are discussed in an informal, friendly atmosphere. Those present include men who have undergone the most common treatments for prostate cancer, and their partners.  They are willing to discuss their experiences and views with you and to offer support during the diagnostic, treatment and rehabilitation phases. At most meetings there is a presentation from a person who has expertise in some particular matter of interest.

We also welcome attendance from people who have not been diagnosed as having prostate cancer. That includes, for instance:
  • men who have not yet been diagnosed as having prostate cancer and their partner/carer
  • men or women who simply want to learn more about prostate cancer or about our work
  • people who are health workers (doctors, nurses, health administrators, etc.) or work in a health-related area
At the end of each meeting, coffee, tea and cake are available, providing the opportunity to network with people who can provide information and views about matters of specific interest to you.

You do not need to be invited to attend - simply turn up at any meeting and you and your partner/carer will be made welcome.

Promoting the need for testing at an appropriate age


The group is very active within the ACT and surrounding region in promoting awareness about prostate cancer, its diagnosis and treatment. Most men are unaware of the incidence of prostate cancer: each year about 20,000 men are newly diagnosed as having prostate cancer and about 3,300 die of prostate cancer. Some Australian statistics about prostate cancer are provided on our statistics page (currently unavailable and is being updated - website manager).

Most people are unaware of the fact that prostate cancer usually develops without any noticeable symptoms. The consensus amongst our group is that it is important that all men be aware of this and that they talk to their GP about monitoring the level of PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) through regular testing, commencing at an appropriate age. That approach increases the likelihood of early detection, with the important consequence of maximising the chances of a completely effective treatment. What comprises an appropriate age is specified in guidelines that have been
approved by the National Health and Medical Research Council. Those guidelines have been endorsed by the Prostate cancer Foundation of Australia (PCFA), the Cancer Council Australia and the Urological Society of Australia and New Zealand. The guidelines can be read or downloaded from this page of the PCFA web site:
http://tinyurl.com/yc4ryzwy In particular men might note the contents of the document referred to as An overview of the recommendations approved by the National Health and Medical Research Council. On page 3 of the document the "take home message" concerning initial testing is this:
Men should be offered the opportunity to consider and discuss the benefits and harms of PSA testing before making the decision whether or not to be tested.  
  • The harms of PSA testing may outweigh the benefits, particularly for men aged 70 and older.
     
  • Men at average risk of prostate cancer who decide to undergo regular testing should be offered PSA testing every 2 years from age 50 to 69.
     
  • Men with a family history of prostate cancer who decide to be tested should be offered PSA testing every 2 years from age 40/45 to 69, with the starting age depending on the strength of their family history.
     
  • Digital rectal examination is not recommended for asymptomatic men as a routine addition to PSA testing in the primary care setting, but remains an important part of specialist assessment.

The consensus amongst our group is that regular and early testing is particularly important amongst men for whom risk of prostate cancer is higher than for other men as a consequence of family history of cancer and their ethnicity.  

Promoting awareness about prostate cancer  

We are keen to give awareness presentations and to provide advice and support to clubs, organisations, workgroups, or associations in the ACT and in southern NSW. Our members frequently give presentations at meeting of seniors’ groups of various types and to groups that have mature age men in their membership. From this page of our web site you can access more information about our awareness presentations.

We are happy to set up information stalls or marquees at community events and to organise speakers for discussions, meetings or other such events. See the past events page for a listing of some important events that we have been involved in, and the planned events page for a listing of scheduled future events (including guest speakers).

If you would like us to provide a presentation or to run an information stall at any event please contact us - see details on
this page.

Providing information


While your GP and specialist would be your primary source of information about prostate cancer there are many supplementary sources of information about the diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer and after-treatment care. This includes publications in print and audiovisual format and there are many organisations, service agencies and friendly associations that provide information, services and support.

The group maintains a library of selected publications that people can borrow (see
Our library).

Information about the group’s activities are published in our free newsletter The Walnut (see Our newsletter).

There is good news!

The good news is that there is strong evidence that in many cases treatment of prostate cancer can result in long term remission or cure. This is especially so if prostate cancer has been detected at an early stage. Early detection is the key to enabling a completely effective treatment with least possible side effects. However, even if not detected early in its development, there are treatments which can control many of the associated symptoms and problems, enabling an enjoyable and useful life for many years.

While it is estimated that in 2017 prostate cancer will be the most commonly diagnosed form of cancer in males, and the second highest cause of death from cancer among males, there are two important ‘good news’ messages:
  • There is strong evidence that in many cases treatment of prostate cancer can result in long term remission, particularly when it has been detected at an early stage.
     
  • Even if it is not detected early in its development, there are treatments which can still control many of the associated symptoms and problems, enabling an enjoyable and useful life for many years.
Fortunately, prostate cancer is often very slow growing and therefore many men will survive their cancer for many years. For example, the latest available official Australian Government statistics show that for the period 1998-2004, the five-year ‘relative survival rate’ for prostate cancer was 85.3%. This indicates that five years after a diagnosis of prostate cancer, about 85.3% of such men had survived. This compares very favourably with five-year relative survival rates for other types of cancer: only 10.7% for lung cancer, 24.4% for stomach cancer and 65.6% for kidney cancer.

Another cause for optimism is that survival rates for prostate cancer are improving markedly. The five-year relative survival rate for prostate cancer improved from 57.4% for the period 1982-1986, to 93% for the period 2007-2011, one of the highest survival rates for cancers. With improving diagnostic procedures, better treatment protocols and earlier detection there should be even further improvements in the future.

The source of the above statistics is the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s reports - Australia’s Health 2016 and Cancer in Australia 2017 and Cancer in Australia in Brief 2017 and Cancer in Australia: key facts. These documents can be downloaded from:
http://tinyurl.com/hb55ndy
http://tinyurl.com/ya6z6pr3
http://tinyurl.com/yc4k7yul
http://tinyurl.com/y9k2khwr


On a more personal note, a considerable number of our group have undertaken treatment for prostate cancer and their cancer is in remission. The medical literature indicates that there are good chances of treatment leading to a state of remission when the cancer is detected early enough. This is particularly so when the cancer is confined within the prostate capsule. There is clear evidence that if the cancer is not totally contained within the prostate capsule, the probability that treatment can lead to long-term remission is reduced. Hence the importance of early detection.

While a cure may not be achievable for some men, there are treatments that enable most men to have a satisfying life for many years. These treatments and approaches to symptom and problem management are explained in detail in the books and documents
listed here.


Links with other organisations

The group is affiliated with the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia being a member of its Support Group network..

 

Contact us


If you would like to get more information about the group please contact us - see details on this page. Alternatively, simply come along to a monthly meeting - all people are welcome to attend.

Disclaimer  

On this web site is provided information about developments in the diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer, books, documents, audiovisual products, presentations, research articles, sources of information, and other materials. However, the Group's Executive and web site manager do not have the medical expertise required to make an informed evaluation of conclusions and recommendations presented in such materials, and such conclusions and recommendations have not been verified through appropriately qualified medical professionals.

The information presented on this site must not be interpreted as being endorsed or recommended by the Group's Executive or web site manager. Any recommendations made in materials that are on the site or referred to may not be applicable in your particular case. Before implementing any recommendations made in the materials that are reported or referred to, it is essential that you obtain advice from appropriately qualified medical professionals.

The view of the Group
ΚΌs Executive is that no two prostate cancer cases are alike and that no single treatment option is better than any other in all cases. While the information on this site should be of interest, there is no substitute for getting informed medical advice from your own GP, specialists and other medical professionals.

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