Prostate support group now ‘open for business’ in Hawks Nest


AFTER a year’s shutdown, the Tea Gardens/Hawks Nest – Prostate Cancer Support Group is ‘open for business’ once more.

The group has returned to meeting on the last Tuesday of the month at 2pm at Benchmark on Booner Street in Hawks Nest.

The next meeting is June 29 2021.

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Over a coffee or a beer the group holds informal discussions about where they’re at with treatment or recovery, or how their PSA results are going.

At the same time, the group invites males over 40 with concerns about prostate health to join their monthly, friendly chats.

“In effect, it’s an open invitation to all men to learn and discover what choices they have,” said the group’s new convenor Philip Dowling, a member since 2014.

“When I was first diagnosed, a friend suggested I go along to the meetings.

“The first time I went I just listened and didn’t participate.

“But I soon realised these guys were friendly, straight shooters and I learned so much on a variety of prostate related issues from their experiences.

“So much so, I was disappointed I hadn’t joined earlier.”

Another longstanding group member Phillip Everett joined the group in 2013 when his PSA was elevated.

And it was through another member that he was made aware of specialised treatment that later proved to be successful for him.

“Members have a wide and various range of experience of treatments and specialists,” said Phillip Everett.

“Some members are still weighing up their options, while others are plain sailing from detection, to treatment, through to having undetectable PSA (i.e in remission) for the last four to five years.”

The secret to surviving prostate cancer, he said, was early detection, getting tested regularly, and receiving treatment early when all treatment options would still be available.

Then, an informed choice could be made.

“Watch and wait is no longer an option,” he said.

“If your PSA is elevated, or doubles over 12 months, your GP should be referring you to a urologist.”

910 Australians died from Covid-19 in about 12 months, while 3,152 males died from prostate cancer in Australia in 2020.

Phillip pointed out that often there are no symptoms.

If you have to get out of bed at night to relieve your bladder pressure, you might have a prostate problem (not necessarily cancer), but you should see your GP and have a PSA blood test.

“Please do your utmost to have the 40-year-olds and older in your family tested regularly.

“Early detection, through having a regular PSA test should give them the option of most treatments.

“Delay will potentially exclude many of those options as the cancer develops, leaving radical surgery as the main and prospectively expensive option, with likely follow up chemo and/or radiotherapy.”

Meanwhile, group members recently paid tribute to the sterling efforts of retiring convener Jim Taylor who led the group for a number of years.

Jim, however, isn’t going anywhere, he intends to attend upcoming meetings and to welcome “lots of new members” over a cuppa.

For information about the upcoming meetings please call Convener Philip Dowling on 0419 998 780 or email [email protected].

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