2014 “Man Up” Article

2014 Another Prostate Cancer Awareness Trip around Queensland

In 2010 Lang, Carl Neilsen and I did a trip around Queensland promoting Prostate Cancer awareness. This trip was prompted by the fact that Carl had had a good outcome following the  discovery he had prostate cancer at the age of 39. Lang and Carl set to and  renovated a Willy’s Overland that we had sitting in our garage for the trip.  With the help of sponsorship from Queensland Health the three of us travelled throughout outback Queensland.

We used the vehicle as the magnet and when a group of men came to look we gave out pamphlets and the guys spoke to them on the importance of an early check up to get PSA levels and a digital examination.

In April last year we were approached by the charity  Manup and asked if we would again do a road trip around Queensland and they would combine with us to attract significant community and media attention to raise awareness and funds to finance support nursing specifically for patients suffering with prostate cancer.

Always up for a challenge, we agreed to supply the vehicles and map out a feasible route. We had just imported our 1942 Dodge Carryall from USA and Carl had a 1924 Dodge he set about restoring. Since it was 100 years of Dodge we thought these were appropriate vehicles to use to attract attention.

We were also able to secure the use of a brand new Dodge Discovery from Cricks Motors and this was used as our support vehicle.

Manup had formed a partnership with the Queensland Masonic Lodge who had just launched their new charity brand Hand Heart Pocket. Along with the Lodge’s help we made contact with the local chapters in each of the centres we were going to visit  and these gave us a venue to do a presentation and an organised function to use as a fund raising event.

We were able to get sponsorship that covered all our costs and all money raised by the regional Lodges was met dollar for dollar by the Lodge headquarters in Anne Street Brisbane.

We started off on the trip on the 27th August leaving from Anne Street and traveling west through Gatton,Toowoomba, Dalby, Chinchilla, Miles, and Roma. We then went north to Augathella, Tambo, Blackall, to Longreach.  From there we headed for the coast passing through Barcaldine, Emerald, Moranbah to Mackay. We then headed north to Townsville, Tully, Atherton and Cairns. We had a few days rest in Cairns then headed south down the coast through Innisfail, Townsville, Rockhampton, Yeppoon, Gladstone a few days RNR at Agnes Waters then the run home via Bundaberg, Childers, Pialba, Maryborough, Gympie, Imbil, Kingaroy, Maleny, Caloundra, Caboolture and home 5 weeks later to a great reception at the Lodge in Anne Street on the 3rd October.

At all the venues we had the best reception from the lodge members and were made extremely welcome.

We also had organized to meet up with different car groups along the way. In Emerald we attended the Outback Classic Car Show and had an interview recorded with Fletch from Classic Restos. In Townsville we were escorted into town on both occasions by the local vintage car club group. At many of the other centres  we had a good turn out of classic cars to support us in raising awareness of the need for early detection of what is a treatable cancer if found in the early stages.

From my point of view I have been extremely heartened that as a radiographer for 40+ years I have seen technology change dramatically and especially very recently in the case of prostate cancer detection.

More and more urologists are now referring male patients for a simple MRI examination which gives a 98% accuracy in determining that you do not have prostate cancer. Of the ones who have a suspicious area they can now have a biopsy done under MRI control which reduces the number of needles used to just the one area.

The down side of this advancement is that at present these examinations are not covered by medicare and the out of pocket cost can be around $500.00.  None the less progress is being made and I see a future where men will find it easier and more pleasant to look after their health, because guys what would we do without you?

Bev Kidby