PROSTATE cancer survivor Richard Harry says it is vital more cancer treatment services are available in the region to improve accessibility for patients.
Mr Harry – chair of the Limestone Coast Prostate Cancer Support Group – says the region in particular needed radiation services, a prostate care nurse and improved biopsy equipment.
His comments follow a renewed call for more regionally-based treatment services at a public health meeting in Mount Gambier this week.
While chemotherapy services are available at Mount Gambier Hospital, he said cancer patients continued to travel for radiation services.
Statistics show there are only two prostate care nurses in South Australia – none are located in the Blue Lake city.
“We need to see as many cancer treatment services possible in the region,” Mr Harry told The Border Watch yesterday.
“Why should not regional and country people have the same services available in Adelaide?”
Mr Harry – who is a been a vocal advocate for expanded services – said radiation services were needed to reduce the number of people travelling to Adelaide or Warrnambool.
“Wouldn’t it be so much better to have the treatment in Mount Gambier and come home everyday?” he said.
“If you can stay at home and receive the treatment, there is so much less pressure on the family. You can stay within your circle of friends and that boosts that person.”
Mr Harry – who urged men to have regular prostate checks – also revealed more technology advanced biopsy equipment was needed in the region.
While people could get a biopsy undertaken, he said it was not the “gold standard” treatment and was quite intrusive.
“If we had a transperineal biopsy machine in Mount Gambier, it would save all the travel,” Mr Harry said.
Revealing there were higher rates of prostate cancer compared with breast cancer, he said prostate care nurses were desperately needed.
“The Federal Government is putting in money for additional prostate care nurses,” Mr Harry said.
He said these health professionals were needed the given complications arising foe prostate cancer patients.
“Prostate care nurses direct patients where to go for help and arrange speciality treatment medications,” Mr Harry said.
The health advocate called for men to have regularly prostate checks in a bid to save their lives.
In particularly, he urged younger men – who have a history of prostate cancer in their family – to undergo regular checks.