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Thursday, 2 March 2006
Page: 119

Mrs ELLIOT (9:42 AM) —I want to take this opportunity to thank my local community for their incredible effort in supporting awareness of a very important men’s health issue, prostate cancer. Tragically, prostate cancer kills 2,600 Australian men a year, but it can be treatable with early detection. Whilst prostate cancer is responsible for virtually the same number of deaths in Australia as breast cancer, community awareness of the issue is nowhere near as high as that of breast cancer. Unfortunately, Australian men are traditionally much less likely to seek help or treatment. Many men just do not know enough about this deadly disease. To help address this problem, I held a free community information session last week in my electorate of Richmond. I was overwhelmed by the response from our local community. Over 300 men and their concerned wives, daughters and mothers came along to hear about what prostate cancer is, how it can affect men and their families and what can be done about it.

Special thanks go to our guest speakers who very kindly donated their precious time, effort and expertise to this great cause. The main guest speaker, Wayne Swan, gave a very stirring and candid speech detailing his personal experience of this terrible disease. Wayne’s commitment to raising public awareness of prostate cancer amongst Australian men is truly commendable. Dr Allistair Campbell, a local urologist, kindly took time out of his busy schedule to share his expertise with us. His wealth of knowledge and experience in the area was highly appreciated by the audience. To Sue Bedford, another local health professional—a specialist community nurse from Tweed Hospital—thank you for giving such an informative speech. Thanks go to Roger Large and Don Baumber, who have both experienced prostate cancer and now give up so much of their time to provide support to other men in a similar situation.

I also thank all the members of the Prostate Cancer Support Group for helping to make the day so successful. A special mention also needs to be made of South Tweed Sports Club, who very kindly donated their conference room and facilities for this community information session. It is clubs like this that form the backbone of our community. Without the club’s donation of facilities and the support of their friendly staff, this information session would not have been a reality. Thanks so much, South Tweed Sports Club.

I would also like to thank the Cancer Council and the local staff of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs for their presence on the day and for the information they were able to present to the people who attended. Prostate cancer is an important issue because men’s lives are at stake, and that is why it was great to see so much community involvement in my prostate cancer awareness session. Again, I thank all the people who were involved. It really is great to see what we as a community can achieve by working together to raise awareness throughout the community about this terrible disease and the effects it has on men and their loved ones. I commend everyone who was involved. It was a very successful day and will continue to raise awareness throughout the community about this very tragic disease.