Category Archives: Men’s health

AMHF 2018 National Men’s Health Gathering

2018 National Men’s Health Gathering

Navigate Decision Aid Presentation
AMHF Men's Health Gathering 2018 - Alan White delivering presentation on Navigate Decision Aid for Low Risk Prostate Cancer

Presenting the Navigate Decision Aid Clinical Trial at the AMHF 2018 Men’s Health Gathering

I felt privileged to present on behalf of Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre at the Australian Men’s Health Forum (AMHF) 2018 National Men’s Health Gathering in Parramatta earlier this week.

The presentation was about the clinical trial currently running for the Navigate Decision Aid for men diagnosed with low risk prostate cancer.  The trial is being conducted by Peter Mac, in conjunction with Swinburne University.

Australia-wide Clinical Trial

The trial is Australia-wide and is open to men who have been diagnosed within the last three months and who are still considering their treatment options (including active surveillance).

No referral is necessary and partners can be involved too.  For further information, please contact Project Manager, Natalie Richards on 03 8559 7453 or email navigate@petermac.org.

Great gathering at Novotel, Parramatta

There was an excellent turnout to the AMHF 2018 Men’s Health Gathering.  Over the three days of the conference, I was able to attend presentations by a wide variety of men and organisations.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representation was strong, with the likes of Mick Adams, Professor Tom Calma AO, and Romlie Mokak.

I particularly enjoyed listening to Alan Philp, from the Commonwealth Department of Health.  Alan’s interesting back-story included his training as a nurse and midwife!

Raising awareness about Men’s Health

It was very pleasing to see so many men (and women) working at the grass roots level to raise awareness of men’s health issues – especially in regional and rural areas.

A big thank you to the organisers – the 9th National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Male Health Convention Steering Committee and the 2018 National Men’s Health Gathering Steering Committee.

More money for prostate cancer research

Funding boost from Federal Government

Last Thursday, I was invited by Movember to attend a joint announcement of increased funding by the Australian Federal Government and Movember Foundation.

$12m for research

Funding of $12m has been committed to fund a new prostate cancer research alliance over the next four years.

Health Minister Greg Hunt with prostate cancer survivors Alan White and Rob Bishop, and Joe from Movember 2018

L-R Joe (Movember), Rob (survivor), Greg Hunt (Health Minister), and Alan White (survivor)
Photo courtesy of L Photography { live laugh love } www.lphotography.com.au

Federal Health Minister, Greg Hunt, and Movember’s Executive Director of Programs, Paul Villanti, made the joint announcement at Movember’s HQ in Richmond.  For full details, click here.

For all those people who get involved each year to raise money for Movember, this is one way in which your funds are being directed.

It was great to meet Rob, a fellow prostate cancer survivor, who turned out to live nearby.  Joe, who works for Movember, is also dealing with his own prostate cancer journey.

We got to hear about Minister Greg Hunt’s own family story of prostate cancer.  It’s wonderful to have someone at the top who really gets it.

Health Minister Greg Hunt talking to prostate cancer survivors at Movember HQ Melbourne 2018

Greg Hunt (Federal Health Minister) talking prostate cancer stuff with survivors Rob, Alan and Joe at Movember HQ, Melbourne. September 2018.
Photo courtesy of L Photography { live laugh love }
www.lphotography.com.au

Many thanks to Sam from Movember for inviting me to attend and for her terrific organisation of the event.

NBN News gave good coverage of the announcement.

Clinical trial up and running for Navigate

Recently diagnosed with low risk prostate cancer?

Or know someone who has been?

Peter Mac Cancer Centre is running this trial, in conjunction with Swinburne University of Technology.

Men with low risk prostate cancer, and their partners, are needed to take part in the study which is assessing Navigate, a new online tool designed to help navigate their treatment.

For more information on the trial

Please contact Project Manager Natalie Richards on 03 8559 7453 or email navigate@petermac.org.

It always helps to spread the word about exciting new developments like Navigate, so please tell your friends, family and co-workers.  Someone always knows someone else who has recently been diagnosed with prostate cancer.

 

Navigate Trial – Looking for men with low-risk prostate cancer

Recently diagnosed with low-risk prostate cancer?

A trial is underway through Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne and this trial needs men like you.

‘Navigate’ is an online decision aid resource for men diagnosed with low-risk prostate cancer and their partners.  It is also the name of the research project which is guiding the development and testing of the Navigate website.

The Navigate research trial is being run nationally to test the decision aid through a randomised controlled trial.

The beauty of this trial is that men can go directly to the website, or ring the Navigate project team.  There is no need to get a referral from your GP or specialist.  Like all clinical trials, there are criteria which need to be met before a person is accepted.

What is a ‘decision aid’?

The widely respected Mayo Clinic in America defines a decision aid as:-

… a tool used to inform patients about available treatments, along with potential benefits, risks and costs, during clinical encounters.  Decision aids use a shared, informed approach to clinical decision-making.

Receiving a prostate cancer diagnosis usually comes as a big shock.  Then comes the need to make decisions, based upon a range of individual factors, such as:-

  • How aggressive or advanced is the cancer?
  • How old is the man who has the cancer?
  • Does the man have other health issues?

As I discussed in an earlier post about decision making and uncertainty, it is often very difficult and sometimes overwhelming for men to choose what to do or what not to do about their prostate cancer.

Decision aids are tools that are designed to help people understand their treatment options, learn about the pros and cons of each option, and to reduce their likelihood of making a decision that they later regret.

There is even a term – decisional regret – as well as a scale to measure that regret!  The Navigate decision aid is specifically targeted at men who have recently been diagnosed with low-risk prostate cancer (and their partners).  Using Navigate to understand your treatment options and to decide which option best suits you – what you consider to be important – may reduce your risk of decisional regret.

Are you interested?  Or do you know someone else who may be interested?  Great.  Click here to view the Navigate brochure PDF.

Navigate Study: Development of a website for men diagnosed with low risk prostate cancer

Navigate Contact Details

The Navigate Research Team
Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre
navigate@petermac.org

PH: (03) 8559 7453

There is even a Facebook page – click on the image to take you to the Navigate Prostate Cancer Decision Aid page.

Navigate decision aid for low risk prostate cancer

Successful prostate cancer event held in Hampton

Successful Information Event

Despite the bleak weather last Wednesday night, a good crowd turned out to hear four keynote speakers discuss Prostate Cancer and You.

As part of International Men’s Health Week, Bayside-Kingston Prostate Cancer Support Group organised this special information evening at the Hampton Senior Citizens’ Centre.

Generous sponsorship was provided by the Lions Club (Sandringham), Bendigo Community Bank (Dingley) and Hocking Stuart.  Attendees enjoyed delicious finger food (thanks to the caterers, Party Food Melbourne).  Coffee and tea were kindly supplied by members of the local Country Women’s Association.

The venue was provided by the Bayside City Council, and Brighton Bayside Life Activities Club supplied the sound system.

Keynote Speakers

The first speaker for the night was Dr Daniel Moon, urologist, who fielded many questions from audience members during his presentation.  Daniel covered such issues as PSA testing, the use of MRI-guided biopsies, decision making and the range of treatments currently in use.

Sarah Rudd, continence physiotherapist, spoke next.  She reviewed the male anatomy to explain its complexity and the importance of properly performed pelvic floor exercises, both before and after treatment.  Sarah made sure that we were all awake by getting us out of our seats to do the “nuts to guts” pelvic floor exercise.

After a short break, David Gray, urology nurse practitioner, spoke about his role in assisting men and their partners throughout the prostate cancer journey.  David also mentioned his work at the Australian Prostate Centre in North Melbourne, and the wide range of services that they have available for men (and women).

The final speaker was Kate Williams, accredited exercise physiologist.  Kate discussed the importance of physical activity, not only for general health, but especially in dealing with treatment side-effects such as fatigue, weight gain, muscle loss, depression and anxiety.  She talked about recent studies that have confirmed the importance of appropriate exercise.

Audience at Hampton Senior Citizens' Centre for Prostate Cancer and You Information Evening

Audience building up before the event – Prostate Cancer and You

Importance of Collaboration

All speakers were extremely generous with their time and expertise.  The broad range of questions from the audience reflected the need for collaboration and cross-referral between various arms of the medical fraternity and allied health.

Speakers David Gray and Kate Williams, with Alan White

Speakers David Gray and Kate Williams, with Alan White, at Hampton Senior Citizens’ Centre, Wednesday 13 June 2018

Showbags full of information were provided to all attendees.  These bags included booklets and brochures from:-

The speakers also provided information that was included in the bags.

Special Thanks

This event could not have succeeded without the considerable help from members of the Bayside-Kingston Prostate Cancer Support Group.  In particular, I would like to thank Tony Carr (who instigated the event), Vern Smith (and his wife, Barbara), Rocky Restaino (and his wife, Lucy).

My sincere thanks to all four of our wonderful guest speakers, without whom the evening would never have happened.

If you couldn’t attend this event and you’d like to receive some of the information that was included in the showbags, please contact me by email or by phone to 0407 617 800.

Attention all men (and women with men in their lives)

Reminder

FREE Information Evening
Prostate Cancer and You

Have you booked yet?  If not, get cracking!  Seats are strictly limited and refreshments will be available.

Wednesday, 13th June 2018 from 6:45pm at Hampton Senior Citizens’ Centre, 14 Service Street, Hampton.

RESERVE YOUR SEAT NOW – www.trybooking.com/VEEY

See you there!

Reminder about free information evening about prostate cancer in Hampton

Reminder – Free Information Night in Hampton, Victoria. Prostate Cancer and You. Wednesday 13 June 2018. Book now.

Information Evening – Prostate Cancer and You

FREE PROSTATE CANCER INFORMATION EVENING

Over the past few months, a colleague (Tony) and I have been busy organising a free information evening about Prostate Cancer in our local area. There is always so much to learn about this topic – from diagnosis to treatment options, from support services to self-care and rehabilitation.

Prostate Cancer and You. Information Evening about Current Treatments and Support.

KEY SPEAKERS

Four key speakers will be presenting information to help men and their partners deal with Prostate Cancer. Those speakers are:-

Dr Daniel Moon, Urologist
Daniel will discuss current treatment options.

Sarah Rudd, Continence Physiotherapist
Sarah will discuss current approaches to incontinence.

Kate Williams, Exercise Physiologist
Kate will focus on tailored exercise programs for recovery and beyond.

David Gray, Urology Nurse
David will cover options for care during and after treatment.

EVENT DETAILS

As there will be refreshments available, and the venue has limited seating, bookings are essential.

The event will be held at the Hampton Senior Citizens’ Centre (see map below) on Wednesday, 13th June 2018.

Registration begins at 6:45 pm for a 7:00 pm start, and the evening is due to conclude at 9:30 pm.

Book now at www.trybooking.com/VEEY to secure your tickets.  Bookings close Wednesday 6th June 2018, so don’t delay.

FURTHER ENQUIRIES

Contact me on 0407 617 800 or Tony on 0405 834 804.

Or you can contact me via email to alan@theprostatezone.com.

SPONSORSHIP THANKS

This event is proudly presented by the Bayside-Kingston Prostate Cancer Support Group.

Kindly sponsored by:

Bendigo Bank Dingley Village Community Bank Branch LogoLions Club International Logo

 

Is there sex after prostate cancer?

What about my sex life?

This is the most frequently asked question and the thought uppermost in men’s minds when they are first diagnosed with prostate cancer.

There is no straightforward answer, because it depends on the stage of the cancer and the treatment that the man decides to undertake (and of course, it depends on what your definition of ‘sex’ is).

So, let’s deal with men who opt for radical prostatectomy, that is surgical removal of the prostate gland.  Most men will experience sexual dysfunction after the operation.

Who do men and their partners go to see about this?

What if every cancer patient had a sexual recovery specialist?

“What if every cancer patient had a sexual recovery specialist?”  These are the words of my colleague, Victoria Cullen, who specialises in dealing with sexual dysfunction after any treatment for cancer, but with a special interest in prostate cancer.

Victoria Cullen - Sexual Recovery Specialist

After hearing Victoria speak at the Asia-Pacific Prostate Cancer Conference in 2017, urology surgeon Declan Murphy invited her to provide sexual recovery consultations to all his private prostatectomy patients.

Almost every man experiences a change in sexual functioning after prostate removal surgery. In particular, most men will not have erections for at least a year (usually longer, and sometimes permanently). The impact of this loss on quality of life and self-esteem can be devastating.

The aim of Victoria’s approach is to help patients recover as much function as possible and have a fulfilling sex life regardless.

This is the first time an Australian surgeon has prioritised this aspect of quality of life recovery within ‘usual care’.

Victoria is based at Cancer Specialists in Richmond.  I recommend checking out Victoria’s website.  She also has a blog post on the Cancer Specialists’ website which explains the work that she does and why she does it.

As well as checking it out for yourself, it might also be helpful to pass on to others who are interested in sexual recovery after prostate cancer treatment.

Decision making and uncertainty

When men get a prostate cancer diagnosis, the next discussion is usually about treatment. The stage of the cancer will determine the type of treatments on offer.  Generally, with a diagnosis of low-risk, low-grade prostate cancer, men will often have several options available to choose from.

Depending on a range of criteria, men can consider active surveillance, surgery, or radiotherapy.  There is also the NanoKnife®, which is currently available in Sydney and Queensland.

Active surveillance delays dealing with the two major side-effects of surgery and, to a lesser extent, radiotherapy – incontinence and erectile dysfunction.

Whatever treatment men are looking at, all bring uncertainty.  Common concerns include:-

  • Am I making the right decision?
  • Will the side-effects be worse than expected or not as bad?
  • What is really the best treatment option for me?
  • Will there be other effects from the treatment that I don’t know about?
  • I’ve heard stories about other men – will those things also happen to me?

To work through this maze of questions and worries, it can be helpful to visit a Prostate Cancer Support Group to hear other men’s experiences.  Just remember, every man will respond differently to even the same treatment.  There is no one size fits all treatment. Obtain a second opinion to guide you towards what is best for you, not others.

Even with all the information gathered, there can still be that internal nagging voice – “I’m still not sure”.

Part of the problem is that men, in general, are fixers.  We have a problem and generally we know how or what to do to fix it, but prostate cancer is a whole different kettle of fish. At the low risk stage, men are presented with options, and fixing the problem is not at all straightforward.  There are so many shades of grey.

For many men, they would love to hear “this is the treatment for you, these are the side-effects, and it will work”.  End of story.  Unfortunately, there might still be some level of doubt.  If you can step back for a moment and look at other events in your life where there has been some uncertainty around decision making.  Consider what you did then with the uncertainty, and what you learned that might help you now.

There is no simple answer when dealing with the uncertainty of decision making, and the consequences of that decision, relating to prostate cancer.

If you are stuck in this stage of uncertainty, seek out relevant information, talk to support groups or individuals who might have been in a similar situation.  As uncomfortable as the uncertainty is, be prepared to sit with it, with the anxiety of these uncharted waters.  Talk to your family, or close friends.  The Cancer Council has a help line (13 11 20) where you can talk one-on-one to work through your concerns.

Consider counselling to guide and support you during this transition period, to determine what is the best option for you and that you can you live with the decision that you make.

You don’t have to do this alone, seeking and asking for help shows strength, not weakness.

Lastly, consider visiting the Navigate website, an on-line decision aid for men diagnosed with low-risk, low-grade prostate cancer.  Navigate is a project being run by the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne, and I am the consumer advocate on the project.

Once you are registered on Navigate, you will be selected for further involvement which will go some way to assisting you to make your decision, and hopefully reduce some of the uncertainty that is churning inside you.

Men’s Health goes to Bunnings, Mentone

Alan White holding Men's International Health Week 2017 information

Who’s interested in men’s health?

Drop into the Bunnings store at Nepean Highway in Mentone (opposite Jefferson Ford) this coming Saturday, 17th June 2017.  You can get a free health information show bag, while you discuss “secret men’s business” over a coffee at the display stand inside the store.

If you don’t live near Mentone and you want to see what’s happening near you, check out the Men’s Health Week website for all the info you can handle.

1 2