01 July 2024

“I had absolutely no symptoms prior,” – survivor Michael goes Dry this July in the name of early detection

Ballarat local and prostate cancer survivor, Michael Dickson, is urging Victoria blokes to go Dry this July to raise awareness about early detection of Victoria’s most commonly diagnosed cancer.

Research shows that 75% of all Australians don’t know the guidelines for prostate cancer testing, and only 36% of prostate cancers are detected at the early stage, when treatment is most effective.

This is the second year that Michael, 74, will give up his weekly happy hour to raise funds for Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia. Ahead of Dry July, he has already raised half of his $1k goal.

“I was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2019 and had a prostatectomy in April 2019, which was successful, and I was fortunate enough not to require any follow up treatment,” Michael said.

“However, in late 2023, my PSA level had risen, and I required radiation therapy. I commenced 37 rounds on 16th November and completed that in mid-January this year.

“My cancer was only picked up through a random blood test, I had absolutely no symptoms prior. Family history is very important for men to be aware of. I have six cousins (all brothers) who are all battling prostate cancer.

“I am going Dry this July to raise funds and awareness that prostate cancer needs to be talked about. There’s a misconception for many men about what a PSA test involves, and as a result many don’t get tested.

“It’s obviously not a pleasant topic sometimes, but it needs to be talked about,” Mr Dickson said.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in Victoria. Around 6,000 Victorian men are diagnosed each year, and nearly 900 Victorian men die from the disease each year.

Early detection and treatment have been and remain crucial for reducing death rates and increasing the chances of survival for men with prostate cancer.

“As prostate cancer may not show symptoms in the early stages, it’s vital for men to know their individual risk factors and to find out all the facts about PSA testing,” CEO of Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia, Anne Savage, said.

“As age is a risk factor for prostate cancer, it is best to talk to your doctor when you are 50 years old. But if you have a relative with prostate cancer, your risk may be higher, so it’s best to talk to your doctor when you are 40 to 45 years old.

“We applaud Michael for giving up alcohol and dedicating this July to raising funds for PCFA, helping us amplify the message of early detection of prostate cancer.

“We thank him for rallying his community to talk about prostate cancer, and for raising vital funds for us to support more men and families affected by this disease,” Ms Savage said.

Michael says before participating in Dry July in 2023, he never thought such a small gesture would make such a difference in the world.

“By participating in Dry July, I have seen I can make a difference – we all can in small ways, and that’s what we’re looking for. My initial goal last year was $350. I ended up raising $1,500. I was really happy.

“Every little bit of money helps towards what PCFA is trying to achieve, and the fact that there are just so many men diagnosed every year in Australia – anything we can do to make a difference is vital.

“I have found it’s also opened up a lot of conversations with a lot of people – it’s important we get the word out there this July and talk about early detection and risk of prostate cancer,” Mr Dickson said.

Visit https://www.dryjuly.com/users/michael-dickson to donate to Mr Dickson’s campaign.

Funds raised for PCFA through Dry July support the organization’s mission of raising awareness of the disease, offering support to those affected and investing in further research into prostate cancer.

More information about early detection and PSA testing can be found at PCFA’s dedicated Prostate Cancer Toolkit, via prostate.org.au.


Media contacts for further information or interviews:

Katie Clift – katie@maybe.agency | M +351 913 976 202

PCFA - 1800 22 00 99 | pcfa.org.au