Survivors offer help

31 Aug, 2005 08:45 PM
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PROSTATE cancer survivors are working with the medical community to set up a support centre at Hollywood Hospital.

The centre will be run by volunteers who have had treatment for the disease and are keen to make it easier for others.

Former Esperance farmer Tony Overheu had successful prostate cancer surgery at the age of 53. Like many men, he said his experience would have been far easier if he had had others to speak to who had "already been there".

"For me the crunch came eight weeks later when facing the future" Mr Overheu said.

"For others having someone to bounce things around with before treatment can be a big plus."

Part of the role of the Prostate Cancer Support Centre is to increase community awareness of prostate issues.

Albany farm advocate Murray Field had surgery a year ago.

Mr Field said men aged over 45 needed to become informed about this area of their health.

He went for a routine check-up after losing a farmer client to cancer.

Like many, Mr Field felt in good health and was not expecting necessary treatment.

Australian statistics show deaths from prostate cancer are higher in rural areas than in cities.

This has been attributed to less testing and awareness among rural doctors and patients.

Mr Overheu said all men over the age of 45 needed to consider a simple blood test plus digital rectal checks from their GP.

Every day in Australia, seven men lose their lives to prostate cancer.

Most of the deaths could be prevented by early detection.

Several bush prostate cancer survivors will be at the Prostate Cancer Foundation tent in front of the Dowerin field day office next week for anyone wanting a chat about prostate health.

To contact the support centre call Cheryl Mellor on 9346 4700 or visit www.prostate.org.au

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