Byron Wilson of Alstonville is suffering from prostate cancer and is using a drug called Abiraterone that has recently become available on the pharmaceutical benefits scheme, dramatically reducing the cost of the drug.
Byron Wilson of Alstonville is suffering from prostate cancer and is using a drug called Abiraterone that has recently become available on the pharmaceutical benefits scheme, dramatically reducing the cost of the drug. Patrick Gorbunovs

Early detection a lifesaver for prostate cancer sufferers

BYRON Wilson of Alstonville was diagnosed with prostate cancer 15 years ago.

Since 1998, Mr Wilson has undertaken almost every cancer treatment on the market, including radiotherapy, chemotherapy and has taken a cocktail of drugs.

One such drug that is having a positive effect on Mr Wilson's life is the drug Zytiga which has recently been added to the pharmaceutical benefits scheme (PBS)

Before the government subsidy Zytiga would have cost him $3500 a bottle.

"I now pay $5.90 for the tablets on the PBS and my prostate-specific antigen count has dropped from 100 to 29," Mr Wilson said.

However, in Australia, Zytiga is only prescribed for those with metastatic cancer that have already tried chemotherapy.

Mr Wilson said he believed Zytiga should be prescribed to those who were also newly diagnosed and have not yet undertaken chemotherapy.

"I hope the government will be able to change that in the future and allow people to be prescribed to the drug before they've tried chemo because it is very effective," he said.

However, the ever-optimistic cancer veteran said early detection is better than any treatment.

Mr Wilson's advice for those who are concerned about getting a prostate check is to get a check and get it done earlier than recommended.

"It might not sound as sexy to talk about getting your prostate checked as talking about a breast screen, but getting your prostate checked is relatively easy," Mr Wilson said.

"Having a few moments of discomfort is better than having cancer."

He also said those who may be living with prostate cancer should maintain a "positive outlook".

"You've just got to keep doing as much as you can while you can," Mr Wilson said.

If the mention of a prostate check makes you cross your legs, this September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month and is a good excuse to bite the bullet and get your prostate checked.

Men's health specialist David Hughes sees more than 300 men a year and said men over the age of 40 should book into their doctor for a prostate check.

"It's not a diagnostic test but it gives you an idea of whether you need to have any further investigation," Mr Hughes said.

Men should look out for signs and symptoms of prostate cancer including trouble urinating, decreased force in the stream of urine, blood in urine, general pain in the lower back, hips or thighs, discomfort in the pelvic area and erectile dysfunction.

To join the Northern Rivers Prostate Cancer Support Group phone David Hughes on 6687 0008.



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