Each year in Australia, 20,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer, making it our most common cancer. Like many families, my own has experienced the effects of this cancer.
For those who are diagnosed with prostate cancer, support and information are vital. Recently I had the opportunity to attend the regular meeting of one of the many groups working to provide that support.
The North Shore Prostate Cancer Support Group has operated out of the Royal North Shore Hospital in my electorate for over two decades. Like the many support groups of this type found across the nation, it is run entirely by volunteers and plays an incredibly important role in helping men with prostate cancer, their families and friends.
I also acknowledge the support it receives from the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia. Knowledge is power, and the embrace of peers provides comfort and strength.
The support group provides these in spades, as I was able to see firsthand when I visited the group. Members of the group are able to share experiences in what is clearly a friendly and welcoming environment.
Their speakers are drawn from some of the nation’s leading medical experts. On the night I visited, for example, they heard from Associate Professor Andrew Kneebone, one of Australia’s foremost radiation oncologists.
I want to pay tribute to those involved in running the group: the convener, John Fullagar, and his committee. I should also mention the irrepressible Stewart Begg, who encouraged me to attend.
Organisations like the North Shore Prostate Cancer Support Group help so many people during what can be a confusing and difficult period, and I thank them on behalf of my community.