House debates

Wednesday, 11 September 2019


Prostate Cancer, Frawley, Mr Danny

7:49 pm

Photo of Ms Catherine KingMs Catherine King (Ballarat, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development) Share this | | Hansard source

This year over 19,000 Australian men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. Twenty-five per cent of all men who receive a dreaded cancer diagnosis from their doctor will have prostate cancer. 3,500 Australian men are taken from their loved ones by this disease each year. That is, nine men in Australia die from prostate cancer every single day. No cancer affects more Australian men than prostate cancer, and when it strikes it is either deadly or life altering.

Despite its prevalence and the fact that one in seven Australian men will receive a diagnosis at some point in their lives, we don't hear much about it. In fact more people die each year of prostate cancer than breast cancer; but while we all, women and men, know the risks and warning signs of breast cancer, I'm sure we could not say the same of prostate cancer. That's why the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia is working to change that. One of the ways it does that is through the Big Aussie Barbie that so many of us in this place attended today. This year is the 10th anniversary of the Big Aussie Barbie, and it will reach more Australians, raise more awareness and bring in more funds than ever. For 10 years Australians have been coming together for a very good cause. This year the barbecue has already exceeded its fund-raising target by over 30 per cent.

Later this week I will be adding my support to this great cause with a barbecue hosted at my electorate office. Coming along to the barbecue will be members of the Ballarat Prostate Cancer Support Group, made up of survivors of prostate cancer and men who are still fighting the disease. There will be doctors and there will be friends and family members of those who have not survived their cancer. Events like this will be occurring right around the country. All these people are coming together not only to raise important funds for prostate cancer research but also to support one another. Those who have experience of cancer themselves or a loved one's diagnosis—and that's most of us—know that it is not easy and it is not a fight that you can do or should do alone. Support groups like the one to be celebrated in my barbecue are really important.

Importantly, the barbecue is also to raise awareness. As I said, one in seven men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. All men need to know the symptoms of this cancer and the risk factors to be aware of, because there is a real chance that the knowledge could one day save their life. The risk factors are simple: your age and family history. Prostate cancer is an age-dependent disease, meaning that as you get older the chance of developing it increases. If a close family member has it, you are also more likely to develop prostate cancer, particularly if your family member was diagnosed while young. If you have a family history, it is recommended that men aged over 40 have a chat to their doctor. For those without a family history, the recommended age to talk to your doctor is 50.

The symptoms of prostate cancer are fairly easy to identify. In the early stages, unfortunately, there maybe no symptoms, but in the later stages some symptoms can include feeling the frequent or sudden need to urinate, finding it difficult to urinate, discomfort when urinating, pain in the lower back, upper thighs or hips, or finding blood in urine or semen. These symptoms may not mean you have prostate cancer, but if you experience any of them, please go to your doctor.

The good news is that prostate cancer is survivable. The five-year survival rate is 95 per cent. As always though, the earlier that it is found the better. That's why I and so many across the country are hosting a barbecue this week to show our support. I encourage everybody to get involved.

In the time I have left I also want to briefly make a couple of comments about the sad passing of Danny Frawley this week. Danny is a St Paddie's boy. He is Ballarat through and through. Bungaree spud-farming country is where Danny was born. He has made an amazing contribution, not only to football life—to St Kilda, to Richmond, my own club, and to the many, many boys that he has coached and mentored across those years—but also off the field. He has lent his voice to causes like the Fiona Elsey Cancer Ride in my community. He has mentored many people suffering from depression and lent his voice to so many important causes. As I said, he is Ballarat through and through. We are desperately sad to have lost him. He is someone who is deeply loved, and I know the Bungaree community, his wife, Anita, his mum and the Frawley family, who are so integral in that community, are desperately sad to have lost him. We say thank you for the life of Danny Frawley, who was a great Australian and a great person from Ballarat.