Prostate cancer patients on the Gold Coast will now have access to greater peer support, thanks to a new program by Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia.
The just-launched MatesCONNECT program connects newly diagnosed men with trained volunteers who have been through the disease themselves, in an effort to provide more local support services.
We chatted to Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia CEO, Professor Jeff Dunn AO (pictured), about the need for the program.
“Prostate cancer is a major challenge for men’s health in Australia. One in five men will experience anxiety and depression, and very few men reach out for help,” he explains.
“The idea of MatesCONNECT is a simple one – that men can gather emotional strength by connecting with other men who have been through prostate cancer, and can more readily navigate their own treatment.”
Jeff describes the process.
“Our volunteers complete a comprehensive online course, designed specifically for this program, and are matched with patients based on their experience with the disease. For example, men on hormone therapy are given the option to talk to another man who has been through the same.
“Our MatesCONNECT program can refer men to PCFA Prostate Cancer Specialist Nurses, or our Telenursing Service, for additional support and information, depending on each man’s individual needs.
“Our hope is that this program will vastly improve the outlook of men impacted by prostate cancer, and significantly increase their quality of life through treatment and beyond.
Ultimately, MatesCONNECT was created to ensure that no man has to walk this path alone.
Prostate Cancer in Australia: Key Statistics as at August 2020
- Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australian men.
- Approximately 16,700 Australian men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year.
- Over 220,000 Australian men are living after a diagnosis with prostate cancer.
- Men diagnosed with prostate cancer have a 95% chance of surviving for five years compared to their counterparts in the general Australian population.
- Between 1987–1991 and 2012–2016, five-year relative survival for prostate cancer improved from 60% to 95%.
- In 2018, there were 3,264 deaths from prostate cancer in Australia. In 2020, it is estimated that this will decrease to 3,152 deaths.
- Indigenous men with prostate cancer have an estimated 86% chance of survival by 5 years after diagnosis, which is lower than the national average.
For more information about Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia and MatesCONNECT, phone 1800 22 00 99 or visit pcfa.org.au.