Supporting men is an important service
CANCER is a dark and vicious disease that plagues both men and women.
While there is support for those impacted, men who are diagnosed with prostate cancer face a different battle to others.
Partly due to the tough exterior men portray, but also due to how the disease is diagnosed.
Scans generally reveal cancer straight away for women, however, men embark on a path involving many blood tests, scans and biopsies before any sort of diagnosis is revealed.
It's often a time men feel left in the dark with little support or idea as to what is happening with their bodies.
However, Ipswich Hospital's innovative education program has greatly boosted the support available for men since being implemented in late 2015.
Nurse Navigator Stephen Walker leads the education program for prostate cancer at the hospital.
"Men have that tough persona but are just the same as anybody else when getting a cancer diagnosis and shouldn't be alone for that and they should be armed with as much information as possible,” Mr Walker said.
"As soon as someone is told they have cancer I see them and go through everything with them and explain what's involved.
Mr Walker said men were often shy to express their feelings on issues or things that may be happening to their bodies.
"It's very difficult to get men to talk about their experiences so I build up a rapport with them and sometimes even see the doctors on their behalf if they have not been quite so honest in their dealings with them,” he said.
Kensginton Grove prostate cancer survivor Kerry O'Neill said the education service that Ipswich Hospital and nurse navigator Stephen Walker provided was vital.
"For some time men have been suffering in silence,” Mr O'Neill said.
He said he benefited greatly personally from the service and support.
"He (Stephen) was very good at explaining what was going on physically when I was diagnosed and had stuff done,” he said.
"There was so much I didn't know and I was looking stuff up on the internet and it scared the crap out of me.
"That's what's so great about this support program.”
Mr O'Neill encouraged men to get themselves checked.
"Men have just got to man up and go do something about it,” he said.
"Unfortunately, for a lot of men, because they are so stoic about their masculinity, its too late by the time they do something.
”Cancer doesn't discriminate and isn't an old man's disease.”
September is prostate cancer awareness month.
Around 4000 Queensland men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year, and about 650 men die from the disease.