01 December 2022
Greg is the President of the ACT & Regions Prostate Cancer Support Group and a warrior, yachtsman, gardener, men’s health advocate and long-term prostate cancer survivor, after being diagnosed in 2004.
The speech below is a full copy of the speech delivered by Greg on the occasion of our 2022 PCFA Parliamentary Big Aussie Barbie, jointly announcing PCFA’s review of the Clinical Guidelines for PSA Testing with our Chairman Adjunct A/Prof Steve Callister, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, and Minister for Health and Aged Care, Mark Butler.
"I am honoured to be here today to join the Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, the Minister for Health and Aged Care Mark Butler, the Co-Chairs of the Parliamentary Friends of Prostate Cancer Group Jason Clare and Warren Entsch, the Leader of the Opposition Peter Dutton, PCFA National Chairman Steve Callister and esteemed Director Peter Heathcote.
I am also especially proud that we are joined today by the family of our friend Michael McKellar - to Michael’s parents Rod and Carol, brother Andrew and sister-in-law Sharyn - thank you for being here to make this announcement with us.
To Members, Senators, supporters and friends, let me share with you what this announcement means to me personally.
It is extremely common in today’s environment that people use the words “evidence based” when it comes to formulating change.
I wanted to offer you the opportunity today to meet a person who stands before you as the evidence of what the right changes to prostate testing guidelines can look like.
In January next year I turn 65. 18 years ago, at the age of 46 my prostate cancer journey began.
Early detection, treatment choices including Radical Proctectomy, active surveillance and salvage radiation 16 years after initial surgery have given me the best possible outcomes.
If I may I would like to use a few words from an inspirational minister and activist, I Have a dream.
A dream where no man in Australia needs to live with metastasised prostate cancer.
Many of the nearly 250,000 men currently living with prostate cancer, have metastasised prostate cancer. The number of stories that I have read in support forums of men in their 40’s also being diagnosed. Only yesterday I heard of a case of a man in his 20’s. Clearly prostate cancer knows no boundaries.
For me this only reinforces the need for the following.
From today we need to stand together and agree that prostate cancer is not a disease of old men. It is in fact a disease that has been diagnosed way to late in far too many cases for far too long. For people say its ok you are more likely to die with prostate cancer than of it is a callous statement. Men do not live with prostate cancer they merely exist. Their lives torn apart emotionally and physically by the many side effects of both treatments and medications.
The change to testing guidelines will go far to help this dream however without awareness and a more multidisciplinary approach to treatment opportunities I fear we can fall short of the end game.
There are some amazing advancements happening right here in Australia to improve treatments and outcomes. We need to harness these advancements that help to improve the health outcomes of men. I understand that some things take time. We need to challenge ourselves to make these opportunities available in a timely manner.
Current data shows that 75% of men do not know their prostate cancer risks.
I am currently developing a pullup banner for our support group here in the ACT to send a simple but important message.
Do you know your prostate cancer risks?
Ask Us Now!
Mr Albanese, Mr Butler, an idea for a national awareness campaign perhaps?
Many thanks for allowing me this opportunity today."