Many more men are more likely to die of preventable cancer than women, and even more unlikely to talk about their disease. It is estimated that over 78,000 men will be diagnosed with cancer in 2019, with an average five-year survival rate of 69%.
We explore the impact that cancer diagnosis, its treatment and post cancer life can have not only for physical but mental state.
Dr Michael John Murphy
Michael is a psychiatrist working in NSW Health public health who is also a final year UNSW PhD candidate looking into the role of internet-delivered cognitive behavioural therapy (iCBT) in the treatment of depression and/or anxiety in cancer patients. In 2016/7, he led a randomised controlled trial (RCT) looking to evaluate iCBT in early-stage cancer and cancer survivors. The following year, a pre-post trial looking at iCBT in advanced stage cancer occurred. In addition to being a Fellow of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatry, Michael is a Member of the Royal College of Psychiatry UK. He completed a post-graduate medical degree in Ireland, then undertook basic physician training program and worked as a Medical Oncology Registrar prior to entering Psychiatry training. He enjoys working with patients who have both physical and mental health problems.
Alastair is a father of two, a 13 year old daughter and 21 year old son, who are his world and has worked as a prison officer for 20 years. He was diagnosed with cancer in March 2019 after noticing a lump on the right side of his neck. He has been through intensive treatments including surgery to remove his tonsils and lymph nodes, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, which caused him to lose 14kg from side effects. Due to the radiation treatment affecting his taste buds, he currently cannot taste anything. Alastair, however, counts himself very lucky to still be here and though cancer treatment was the hardest thing to have gone through – he is glad to have come out the other side.
Sean is a father who lives with his partner and their two children. In late 2017 he was diagnosed with bowel cancer and had an operation to remove the tumour, a total colectomy and 6 months of chemotherapy. After surgery, he found that the best recovery was walking and running. That every step helped, no matter how small.