There are 500 prostate cancer diagnoses each year on the Gold Coast – and only two specialist nurses to help treat them


Bill Sutton is one of 500 men diagnosed with prostate cancer each year on the Gold Coast, but with only two specialist nurses operating in the city, he is one of the lucky ones.

The 77-year-old man was diagnosed in October 2020 and has since received monthly hormone treatments and radiation therapy.

“The radiance is like Clockwork Orange,” Mr. Sutton said.

Although the side effects varied in severity, Mr Sutton said the support he received from his nurse specialist made all the difference, but more men could benefit.

The treatment ‘dilemma’

Roanee KC became a prostate cancer nurse at GenesisCare in Southport five months ago, having worked in the broader field of oncology for the past decade.

Roanee KC is one of two prostate cancer nurses on the Gold Coast.(ABC Gold Coast: Dominic Cansdale)

“There is a greater need on the Gold Coast in terms of survival care, follow-up care, [and] obviously long term side effects, ”she said.

Prostate cancer has a 95 percent survival rate, but patients experience a series of long-term side effects, including incontinence, sexual dysfunction, and potentially depression.

Ms KC said she connects with patients as soon as they are diagnosed, becoming a first point of call for any questions.

“They have been bombarded with all of these treatment options,” she said.

She said that “most men are faced with a dilemma with the treatment options that have been offered to them.”

“Some men feel a bit of guilt or regret about the treatment choice they make,” she said.

“It’s devastating later in life when they keep thinking ‘oh should’ve done another treatment'”.

Someone needed to “get the answers”

Bill Sutton said that “most men don’t like to talk about personal matters.”

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Radiation therapy machine at GenesisCare in Southport.(ABC Gold Coast: Dominic Cansdale)

“But in the case of cancer and cancer treatment, it takes someone like Roanee to get into people’s skin and get the answers,” he said.

Roanee KC said that while it is a challenge for many men to open up, “sometimes being listened to. [to] that’s all it takes “.

“Just imagine that these patients didn’t have that point of contact or support,” she said.

“There is a huge gap.

But Mr Sutton said if more specialist nurses are needed, more men with prostate cancer should seek them out.

In May, Gold Coast Health appointed its first nurse specializing in prostate cancer, funded through a charity lunch that raised $ 400,000.


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