Local News

Some of the participants of the Grafton Prostate Cancer Support Group, with guest-speaker Kerri Piper, Community Coordinator of the Cancer Council, at the most recent meeting in February at South Grafton Ex Services Club. Image: contributed

No medical treatment available for Prostate Cancer in the Clarence Valley

Figures suggest that there are as many as 800 Clarence Valley men diagnosed and currently living with Prostate Cancer.

Yet there are virtually no specialised medical staff nor treatments available locally for the condition.

Group Leader of the Grafton Prostate Cancer Support Group, Bob Carnaby says that all the men who participate in the Group have their treatments at either Coffs Harbour, Lismore or beyond.

“There is just nothing here in Grafton”, Bob said. “No resident Urologists at all. Only one visiting urologist who visits Maclean once fortnightly and one oncologist who visits Grafton once monthly.  We have no radiation facility either, and no prostate cancer specialist nurse.”

“When we are first diagnosed with prostate cancer, it’s an earth-shattering moment. To hear your name and prostate cancer uttered in the same sentence comes as quite a shock”, Bob says.

Many times, a cancer diagnosis may be delivered by the urologist to the patient with choices of treatments to consider.

It’s bad enough to be diagnosed with cancer, without being loaded with this additional burden of choice. That’s where the Grafton Prostate Cancer Support Group can assist. With an average meeting attendance rate of around twenty, there is a ‘catalogue’ of men who have been though or are currently undergoing treatments of all types. Many shoulders to lean on, so to speak, or ears to tune to. It can be of so much assistance to the newly diagnosed, and those undergoing treatments, to attend the meetings.

“We are so fortunate to have a fabulous network of diagnosed men who are more than happy to provide support to any newly diagnosed”, Bob says.  “So much real-world experience gathered in the one room. A wealth of knowledge to share, to help with decision-making, explaining some of the detail in lay-man’s terms. It’s a great forum.”

Supported by the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia, Grafton Prostate Cancer Support Group meet once each month at the South Grafton Ex Services Club, from 11am on the second Wednesday. There is usually a guest speaker from the medical or related industry at most meetings, and the topics are always, and only, all-things-Prostate. A library of up-to-date literature on prostate cancer is also available at each meeting. The next meeting of the Group will be from 11am on Wednesday March 13.

All are welcome to “just rock up” to the monthly meetings of the Group, including the newly diagnosed, those currently going through treatment, previously diagnosed and supporting partners. We are all welcome to have as much or as little input as we want… there is no pressure. It’s all very informal.

Bob urges all Clarence Valley men to follow the advice of the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia and have a conversation with your GP about testing for prostate cancer. Its just a simple blood test. The current recommendations are for testing from age 50, and for men with prostate cancer in the family to consider testing from age 40.

The youngest member of our group is in his early 40’s and had been diagnosed and treated and is doing very well. So don’t wait for symptoms to start before testing. Test now.

For info, or to catch up for an informal one-on-one chat over a cuppa, call Bob Carnaby on 0419 610 917.

Like us on Facebook at ‘Grafton Prostate Cancer Support Group’.