Men's 'issues' are given short shrift by our society so the bars were abuzz when Bettina Arndt came by and told us some things about Prostate Cancer. And she was more passionate about the neglect of men than most men are.
She came in with a group of Urologists who were in 'Conference' in Melbourne. It was a change to hear of a conference about men's cancer as we are all too used to having women's cancers on TV, the endless stream of phone calls the tavern gets daily, the 'fun runs' that go by the Tavern seemingly every month and from which men are banned from participating - They are 'women-only' because some women might feel frightened if a man is running with them.
I have every sympathy for cancer sufferers be they women or men or children. but publicly no-one is encouraged to consider the men. It is "Women and Children First" with the women taking the first of the first spot.
Men who have surgery for prostate cancer struggle to get proper advice about,
or effective treatment for,
its terrible side effects.
When Brisbane woman Jill Costello received treatment for breast cancer seven years ago, she found herself surrounded by expert care and support. Her ''fairy godmother'', a breast-care nurse, just made things happen. Her questions were fully answered, her doctors went out of their way to make sure she had proper advice and every possible aid to her recovery.She is a woman and she had a woman's cancer issue. Good to see she was treated with care and concern. Imagine if she had been her husband.
Can you imagine a cartoon like this about a woman with breast cancer?
Four years later, when her husband, Brian, had surgery for prostate cancer, the couple discovered they were on their own.
Questions about lasting side effects from the surgery were fobbed off and Jill found herself googling late into the night, reading up on risks of incontinence and erection problems resulting from damage to the penile nerves.
''Even when I made an appointment to see the urologist myself, he simply warned there could be difficulties but gave no advice on what to do or where to go,'' she says.
|Men's problems are for laughing at, not sympathising with.|
The tweetosphere would be alive with twaddle and Kevin Rudd would be condemning it as a plot by Mr Abbott personally.
But, back to Bettina:
The couple muddled through themselves, asking around until they found one of the few local doctors offering specialist help with the erection recovery process and a physiotherapist for the incontinence.
With her daughter Leah, Jill now runs the organisation ManUp!, which raises money to train more prostate cancer nurses.
There are only 12 specialist prostate cancer nurses in Australia compared to 85 for breast cancer.
Yet, more men are diagnosed each year with prostate cancer than women with breast cancer
18,560 compared with 14,560 in 2012, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.
8 times as many nurses for women
ManUp! hears regularly from men whose urologists have shown no interest in what happens to their patients after prostate cancer treatment. One man left impotent and incontinent after his robotic surgery was told the doctor's job was simply to deal with the cancer.
''That's crazy. It's like a knee surgeon not caring whether the man can walk again.
It's appalling how few urologists are making sure men have the help they need
to regain erections and continence, yet the impact of these problems can be just as devastating to a man as a mastectomy can be to a woman,'' Jill says.
This week a world congress on prostate cancer is being held in Melbourne, with up to 300 urologists among 1000 delegates attending from Australia and overseas. Although there are sessions on sexual functioning and continence, many urologists choose instead to attend talks on the latest cutting-edge treatments or diagnostic techniques.
''We have got better with the technical aspects of the surgery to remove the prostate and preserve function, but I think we have a long way to go with all aspects of rehabilitation, including the psychology of facing a serious illness, urinary incontinence and erectile failure,'' says Prem Rashid, a urologist and associate professor at the University of NSW, who has spent more than 15 years involved with urology training.
Read more: http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/national/sex-and-secret-mens-business-20130806-2rdc5.html#ixzz2bFEAsyNW
Questions and comments were heard in the bars: "When are men going to be treated with the same care and attention as woman get? "
"Men do not want the faux-reverence. They do not want their penises worshipped like women seem to have for their vaginas. "
"Breast are the new sacred orbs"
"Men pay the taxes that provide health services to women."
Much thinking and drinking.