My newspaper column this week (Taranaki Daily News, Saturday March 18, 2017) urges men recently diagnosed with prostate cancer to make more use of support groups.
In New Zealand, most provinces have them. They’re run in conjunction with the Prostate Cancer Foundation of NZ, the NZ Cancer Society and local area health boards.
I went to the New Plymouth one in Taranaki province recently for the first time and was surprised at the low attendance.
I also got a shock to hear one guy talk about discovering he’d had recurrence after 12 years. Twelve years!
I’d always hung on to advice that once you passed a decade of no further signs of cancer you were in the clear. Cured, in effect – although that’s not a word the medical profession ever uses.
I’m into my ninth year of showing no signs of anything untoward, so I thought I was getting close to the magic decade. Not so, it seems.
Anyway, the main message is make use of the support groups, or the dear old government might stop supporting them.
The contact for the New Plymouth one is: Peter Hickey (021-162-1334); email@example.com. Or go to the Prostate Cancer Foundation website to find out how to reach the group in your region: https://prostate.org.nz/support-groups/