I was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer at the age of 57. This came as a huge shock as I had not displayed any symptoms. Shortly after I underwent surgery to remove the prostate, but this wasn’t the simple fix I had hoped for. I had to accept that this would be an ongoing process.
Over the past 15 years since my diagnosis, I have undergone continuous hormone therapy treatment to slow the cancer growth. My wife and four children have continued to support me and allowed me to maintain a positive outlook and continue to live my life as normally as possible.
Being involved with a cancer support group was important for me. It’s enabled me to connect with other men going through a similar experience – all of us are living with advanced prostate cancer. It has provided me a great feeling of reassurance, that I wasn’t alone but supported and understood.
Being a part of a cancer support network led to my involvement with Cancer Council and gave me the opportunity to be a consumer representative for research. Last year I was a member of the consumer review panel that looks at all the grant applications. Having the chance to give to my opinion on which cancer research projects get funded is important to me. I come from a scientific background too, so I also find it all really interesting.
Research provides a great deal of hope to people with cancer, especially for individuals like me whose journey with the disease is continual. I think changes are effectively achieved when people who have been affected communicate with researchers and clinicians, so their work can have a real and meaningful impact.