PROSTATE cancer survivor Allan Nicholls might not be a medical expert, but he knows two universal truths about men’s health.
“Men, generally, are loathe to see their doctor because the doctor will tell them they’re sick, and men don’t want to know that,” he said.
“And men aren’t so good at communicating about their health issues.”
And when those health issues relate to… ahem, south of the equator, then men are even less likely to speak up and ask questions.
With that in mind, Mr Nicholls, of Yarrawonga Park, hopes to set up a prostate cancer support group in Morisset.
He’d like wives, partners and girlfriends to be an integral part of the group.
“I’ll be encouraging the blokes to bring their wives and partners along, because wives will sometimes ask the questions their husbands won’t,” Mr Nicholls said.
The informal group would likely meet at Morisset Multi-Purpose Centre, once a month, for an hour, he said.
The meetings would feature presentations by professionals, or videos, on relevant topics.
“We might have presentations on things like post-operative sexual health, cancer, wills and estates. We might have nurses talking about continence, or surgeons talking about the latest procedures,” he said.
The group would also be focused on mental health, with a Men’s Shed-like emphasis on mateship and social interaction.
Mr Nicholls was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2010, at age 59.
He underwent a prostatectomy and, over the next four years, had a further seven surgeries and spent 15 days in hospital.
Blood tests reveal Mr Nicholls is now travelling well.
“My PSA [prostate-specific antigen] is now zero, and we say we’re surviving cancer,” he said.
Mr Nicholls promises to bring a lot of first-hand knowledge and understanding to the group.
But knowing what he knows about men, his biggest challenge now is to get blokes to pick up the phone, express an interest in such a group, and to attend.
He admits it might be a case of the blokes’ wives and partners taking the first step.
“Whether you’re a prostate cancer patient, a survivor, or the friend, partner or wife of somebody who is, give me a call,” Mr Nicholls said.
If you’re interested in finding out more about the proposed men’s prostate cancer support group, or if you want to ask Mr Nicholls for advice, phone him on 0414 328241.