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Research Blog

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My recent cancer memoir Patting The Shark was written as part of a creative writing PhD at Griffith University. The book forms what’s called the creative component of my PhD and now it’s done, I’ve turned my attention to the academic component, the Exegesis.

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Over time, I’ve realised this journey is a marathon not a sprint.

I’d be the first to admit, I came out of the blocks a bit hard, abruptly and radically overhauling my diet, exercising like a maniac, meditating like a monk, researching whacky folk remedies and overpriced herbs and supplements, desperate to do all I could to remain fit and healthy.

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Living with cancer does predispose me to bouts of nostalgia, the “before times” when life felt free and easy, without this mortal threat lurking in the shadows.

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Never been a big fan of New Year’s resolutions, myself. It always feels like setting yourself up to fail, or scolding yourself for not doing enough, being virtuous enough, being enough.

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PCFA is about to start a review of Australia's guidelines for prostate cancer testing, harnessing our chance to change the way we manage the disease. 

 

Last week we brought together some of the country's leading clinicians to talk about new and emerging treatment options that have vastly improved the way we diagnose and treat prostate cancer. 

 

The vodcast touches on robotic and open prostatectomies, advances in radiotherapy, and the frontlines of research into side-effect management and treatment of erectile dysfunction and incontinence.

 

 

If you have any questions, or need support, call 1800 22 00 99 to speak with a PCFA Telenurse.

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You’ve probably heard these three words a fair bit in recent years. You might even be sick of hearing them, but you are probably going to have to get used to it.

In the context of cancer care, most would agree the standard of care you receive should not be determined by your bank balance, ethnicity, postcode, religion, gender identity or sexual orientation. This has been a hot topic at recent oncology conferences and for good reason.

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We all need our happy place, somewhere we can get lost in a sense of something greater than the self... For me, it’s the ocean and I’ve never been more grateful to be a surfer than since my diagnosis, even as my performance levels decline with the impacts of the meds and ageing.

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If you’re suffering from financial toxicity, you probably don’t need the concept explained to you...

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What do you think when you hear the term “integrative oncology”?

In my experience, a lot of people are a bit sceptical about the term, imagining it as code for spurious, expensive and alternative cancer treatments...

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Your correspondent was recently invited to take part in the fabulous Ubud Writers and Readers Festival, for its 2022 return after two years of COVID cancellations. The festival’s theme was “Uniting Humanity” and, with writers from all over the world baring their souls, I’d say it achieved its aim.

For something a little different, herewith a photo essay of my journey, spreading the message of supportive care for men with Prostate Cancer to the world, through my book Patting The Shark.

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Yay! We can travel again! Dust off the passports! Pull out the Hawaiian shirts and Qantas bags.

But wait! What’s this? We can’t get travel insurance for pre-existing conditions without paying a fortune? So, if we want to travel, we aren’t going to be covered for anything related to our cancer, or our holiday budget is going to take a massive hit. If you are living with advanced, metastatic disease, or even just on Androgen Deprivation Therapy (ADT) for localised disease, your pre-existing condition exclusions might take in a huge range of ailments.

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PCFA_OC_Manager
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Greetings from Bali, where your correspondent finds himself enjoying a break from normal transmission, in the splendour of the Ubud Readers and Writers Festival. I’m here to talk about my book Patting The Shark, which you might already be aware documents the perilous path of the prostate cancer patient and my quest for a sensible, middle path through mainstream and evidence-based complementary therapies.

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Those of us on hormone therapy probably don’t need reminding that exercise is one of the best things we can do for ourselves, for its many benefits: improved cardio-vascular health, bone density, muscle mass and mood, all compromised by hormone therapy (Androgen Deprivation Therapy).

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On Wednesday 19 October from 10am to 8pm we’re holding a national call-in day on erectile dysfunction (ED) for men and their partners.

If you want to talk about management and treatment of ED or things such as low libido, shrinkage, body image or just plain frustration with it all, please call us for information and advice.

We’ll have our specially trained Telenursing team on deck to take your calls on 1800 22 00 99.

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Everyone responds to a cancer diagnosis differently. Some embrace yoga, meditation and a plant-based diet. Some retreat from the world. Some resolve to suck the marrow from life and chase an audacious bucket list.

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This month TENA Men has launched a new washable underwear range to help men impacted by light incontinence in the Wear it with Confidence campaign.

For one week only, from Wednesday September 21 to Tuesday September 27, PCFA friends can get 35% off* the new products using the discount code PCFA at checkout.

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Have you ever felt like you have a story to tell just waiting to get out? Or thought journaling or keeping a diary might be a useful way of processing your experiences? Or just felt like getting something off your chest without burdening those around you with your angst?

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By Tim Baker

There seems to be a great deal of discussion and academic attention being paid to cancer survivorship these days, which is a welcome development...

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By Tim Baker

I went to have my annual skin cancer check the other day. No big deal.

Except as a man on hormone therapy, enduring its emasculating effects and unwanted bodily changes, stripping down to my undies even in the supposedly safe space of a doctor’s surgery can be a little anxiety producing...

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By Tim Baker

When I was diagnosed with metastatic prostate cancer seven years ago, one of the most difficult, immediate concerns was how to talk to our kids about it...

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By Tim Baker

An onco-psychologist and a surf writer walk into a library.

It sounds like the setup to a bad joke, but in reality, it’s just another day on the book promo trail. I was hugely honoured to be joined at the Brisbane Square Library on Saturday  by the one and only Prof Suzanne Chambers AO, this country’s pre-eminent authority on prostate cancer survivorship, who literally wrote the text book on the topic (“Facing The Tiger,” Australian academic Press, 2020)...

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By Tim Baker

When people occasionally ask me who my favourite interviewee has been over 35+ years of surf journalism, I don’t even have to think about it.

Dorian “Doc” Paskowitz was in his late ‘80s when I was treated to an audience with surfing’s most revered medico in the plush foyer of the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel...

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By Tim Baker

As some of you may have detected, it’s been a funny old week for your correspondent.

After labouring over a book, Patting The Shark, for the best part of two years, documenting my journey with metastatic prostate cancer, it was finally released. Like most authors, I felt deeply anxious and insecure about whether anyone would remotely care or take an interest. It turns out I needn’t have worried...

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Close readers of this blog and, indeed, the PCFA website, may have picked up on the carefully guarded secret that I have written a book about my experience living with prostate cancer and its treatment...

 

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In the grand, time-honoured tradition of “those that don’t do, teach,” please allow me to impart what I know about maintaining sexual function during prostate cancer treatment, a mission I have failed at spectacularly myself...

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Written by Exercise Physiologists Malek El-Hassan and Andrew Rivellese, in collaboration with Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA).

After a diagnosis of Prostate Cancer (PCa), you may be recommended to commence Androgen Deprivation Therapy (ADT). ADT is a standard first line therapy for PCa that assists to shrink or prevent the tumour from continuing to grow...

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In the unlikely event that this has escaped your notice, oncologists are extremely busy people. You probably know the drill. You sit in the waiting room thumbing through trashy magazines or watching the inanity of daytime TV as the revolving door of cancer patients trudge in and out of the oncologist’s office, until your name is called...

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Following a radical prostatectomy there is always a risk that cancer may recur. Certain factors may increase this risk such as high-grade features on the initial biopsy specimen, cancer that may have evaded outside the prostate capsule, micrometastases (cancer that cannot be picked up with any imaging), technical difficulties in surgery or no explanation at all other than the genetic makeup of the cancer in a particular individual which gives it the propensity to grow and invade....

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When I was a kid, our maternal grandmother bought us a book for Christmas called, “Manners Can Be Fun.” To be honest, I think this was a gift to my mum more than us kids.

This bit of shameless parenting propaganda attempted to convince children of the joys of saying please and thank you, letting others go first, eating your vegetables and helping out with household chores. It was spectacularly unsuccessful, at our house at least...

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Research Blog

PCFA's Research Blog is regularly updated with articles, written in simple language, about recent and topical research in prostate cancer.

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