Local support for prostate cancer

Words by Peter Gebert

The Eltham prostate cancer Information and Support Group held a recent event to let the community know it was back to meeting in person and ready to support the 4,000 men and their families in the northeastern suburbs of Melbourne living with a prostate cancer diagnosis.

After nearly 18 years, the group has changed its name and has resourced itself to help the expected increase in men newly diagnosed with the condition, after nearly two years of limited medical care during lockdowns.

Nillumbik Councillor Geoff Paine spoke passionately to attendees about men needing to be brave enough and reach out for peer support, saying:  “The Eltham Prostate Cancer Information and Support Group is one of forty groups in Nillumbik that assist the community, and it provides a valuable resource for men and their families who are going through a prostate cancer diagnosis and treatment.”

Eltham Member of Parliament Vicki Ward, who was a driver behind the creation of the Eltham CFA Community Hub, told listeners: “The Eltham Prostate Cancer Information and Support Group is exactly the type of group we were hoping to attract to the community volunteer hub in Eltham”.  The group was established more than 18 years ago by Steve Herbert, the then local Victorian State MP for Eltham.

Supported by the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia and Cancer Council Victoria, the group provides peer support from men who have experienced a diagnosis of prostate cancer. The group assists men and their families who are dealing with impacts of the numerous types of treatments, and allows them to ask all the questions they may forget to ask when with their medical professionals. Expert speakers also attend and provide valuable information.

Convenor of the group Peter Gebert said the group had assisted about 200 men over the last 18 years. He likens attending the group to sharing information with friends who are about to go on a new journey. Who better to talk to than someone that has been there and has survived the trip?
The group is looking for people to share their stories with others and for people to help maintain the group.  Without new people it may not continue. It’s also looking for a volunteer secretary to help with some administrative matters. The group meets on the third Monday of each month at 7pm at Eltham CFA, 909 Main Road, Eltham. For more details call the convenor, Peter Gebert, on 0468 315 156.