INTRODUCTION

" Prostate cancer is just as common in men as breast cancer in women"

Prostate cancer has become the most significant major malignancy of men and is responsible for considerable mortality. Although prostate cancer commonly occurs in later years of life, there is an increasing referral rate of younger patients in their late 40s and early 50s with the disease.

The availability of the PSA (prostate specific antigen) blood test has led to a significantly greater referral rate of men with early disease over the past few years. It is our view that prostate cancer is not restricted to older men, and in many cases, prostate cancer is a highly lethal disease.

In 2003, when Professor John Kearsley saw a need for developing a Prostate Cancer Institute, he turned to a proven community fund raising committee to assist with the expansion of the St George Cancer Care Centre to accommodate this new enterprise.

At this time there had been an increase of more than 50% new patients with prostate cancer but these figures now pale into insignificance with the current figures of men suffering from prostate cancer.

The committee was pretty much the same team which raised significant funds to build the Cancer Care Lodge, a wonderful acquisition to St George Hospital.

At the commencement of 2011, the committee had raised in excess of $3 million with the Cancer Care Centre altered quite significantly to accommodate the expansion and additional rooms required.

Ten new rooms were built on the 1st floor to accommodate personnel from the ground floor so that a brachytherapy bunker, CT scan facility and operating theatre could be located as well as other rooms required.

It is readily apparent that prostate cancer is just as common in men as breast cancer is in women. However, breast cancer cure rates have improved in women, largely as a result of early detection in a nationwide breast cancer screening program. Although there is some indication that prostate cancer cure rates may also be improving in NSW, the State still lacks the same commitment towards a truly co-ordinated and integrated detection and treatment program.

The most comprehensive treatment options and assistance have now been centralised within the Prostate Cancer Institute at St. George Cancer Care Centre in Sydney's southern suburbs.

The Division of Cancer Care Services, which incorporates the Cancer Care Centre, has been the major cancer treatment facility for St. George and Sutherland Shire residents since 1991.

As a part of the initial assessment/advisory process, patients are offered individual assessment and advice about their prostate cancer. Prostate cancer can have a range of behaviours. One man's prostate cancer is not necessarily the same as any other man's prostate cancer. Individual assessment, support and advice also takes into consideration patient and family choices and preferences. The importance of having a skilled and co-ordinated team approach in a disease such as prostate cancer cannot be over emphasised. The PCI has refined the team approach to a level not available in any other Australian setting.

The PCI has been supported by a fundraising committee that has worked tirelessly to attract support from the community and business in the region.