Guest Speaker Report

for August 2019  Newsletter.

From the Chair:

Hi everyone, it is good to be back after my brief interlude due to ill health.

Thanks to all who wished me well.

The Committee invited me to attend their meeting with PCFA CEO, Jeff Dunn and Head of Support & Community Outreach Kath Duggan preceding our August Support Group meeting.

A list of topics to be discussed with Jeff and Kath was the basis of a very fruitful meeting.

We wanted to get to know Jeff & Kath with the intention being to develop closer relations between the Support Group and PCFA

Jeff had considered our list of talking points prior to the meeting and I am happy to say was very positive and genuine in response.

I will leave it up to the Committee to elaborate in detail when Jeff & Kath have had time to formally reply to some items requiring more consideration.

From my perspective I found Jeff and Kath to be personable, great listeners and good company wanting to improve the  functioning of Support Groups. It was obvious that they were genuinely interested in Developing good relationships with us and the PCFA Support Groups in general.

In all my years of involvement with our Support Group, this is the first time I can recall that the CEO of PCFS has come to Newcastle for the best part of a day to listen to us and acknowledge what we are achieving in the region.

I am optimistic that PCFA under Jeff’s leadership and the Support Groups will develop stronger and a more mutually beneficial relationship in assisting men and families when confronting Prostate cancer.

Congratulations to our Committee for their efforts in making this meeting with the CEO happen.

Thanks Jeff and Kath for being with us, it is a breath of fresh air.


Guest Speaker Report for September 2019 Newsletter.

Next meeting on 10 th. September will feature a presentation by Dr Simon Palfreeman, Regional Director of Douglass Hanly Moir Pathology.

Dr Palfreeman is the Regional Director of Douglass Hanly Moir Pathology responsible for the Newcastle (Gateshead), Port Macquarie and Taree laboratories. Douglass Hanly Moir is part of the Sonic Healthcare group, an Australian owned publicly listed company appearing in the countries top 50 companies.

Pathology services are such an important part of health care but it has become so expected and taken for granted that we might forget or not even know just what goes on behind the scenes.

Our focus of course in on PSA testing and grading of biopsy samples. Fortunately for us Dr Palfreeman has special interest in histopathology, which in part is the study of changes in these tissue samples caused by disease.

Then there are the myriad other diseases and infections which require analysis.

My last PSA result was back within 24 hours of the sample being taken and a rapid turnaround is a highlight of pathology services in Australia.

Please have any questions ready for the meeting when we welcome Dr Simon Palfreeman to our group.

Previously : August Meeting – Professor Jeff Dunn CEO. PCFA.

This was a good time to begin talks with PCFA since they have a relatively new crew who are keen to progress and make changes for the betterment of men diagnosed with prostate cancer. Jeff was appointed CEO in March this year and was accompanied today by Kathryn Duggan who is only weeks into her role as Head of Support and Community Outreach. Both have extensive experience in health care. Jeff’s talk soon developed into a question and answer session. Sometimes political, sometimes controversial but always upbeat and optimistic. Canvassing and advocating for improvements in survivorship is a constant challenge whilst governments have finite resources with justifiable demands coming from all quarters.

We stressed the need for funds generated in the Hunter to be  seen to be used in the Hunter and will continue to ensure we receive an equitable share so that we can develop awareness programs under our own banner. Brad Scott will continue to lead efforts for awareness promotion via television and with other groups and proposes joint funding between our group and others to spread the cost

We had a very good turnout and several new members, mainly coming through the good offices of Specialist Nurses Tracy and Nancy.

Going back to the July meeting with Dr Tracy Brown, ( Geriatric Medicine ) she had, as part of her presentation a quote from the DALAI LAMA, the Spiritual Leader of Tibetan Buddhism, with the title MAN. ( applies equally to man and woman ! )


  • He sacrifices his health to make money
  • Then he sacrifices his money to recuperate his health
  • He is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present
  • The result being that he does not live in the present or the future
  • He lives as if he is never going to die
  • Then he dies having never really lived

Sound familiar?

With a similar message Tracy recommended an article written by Jeff Corbett in the Saturday edition of the Newcastle Herald titled :

“The Failure of Success”

“A calm, humble life will bring more happiness than the pursuit of success and the constant restlessness that come with it”

Albert Einstein

I have made some copies of the full article by kind permission of Jeff Corbett. Available at next meeting.

Future Speakers

Our next speaker on October 8 th is Vaughan Marten, Engineer charged with the management of the demolition of BHP Newcastle Steelworks. His subject is “Tales of the unexpected – Some stories behind the Demolition of BHP Newcastle Steelworks” Intriguing and amusing stories such as The Heritage Wars, Anti-Terrorist training and an unexpected visit from a Royal Navy destroyer.

On to November 12th we have a return visit from well known Newcastle Urologist Dr Paul Ainsworth whose talk will involve other urological surgeries as well as radical prostatectomy Last meeting for 2019 we could have a year end wrap up and allow plenty of time for all to have their say. Instead of tea and coffee Gins and Tonic will be served from the urn together with wine and beer in plain packaging. Just kidding. !!


Mike Seddon  :                           Guest Speaker Coordinator

Mobile :                                            0419 599 230

email :                                              [email protected]

L to R – Prof Jeff Dunn, Tracy Scott, Brendon Young,

Nancy Consoli, Kath Duggan and Mike Seddon.

Community Conversations, hosted by Julie McCrossin

20th September, Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Darlinghurst.

Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia (PCFA) is proudly bringing our Community Conversations forum to Sydney, providing an opportunity to discuss the latest research and management of prostate cancer.

This free interactive forum will include

A straightforward overview of the current treatment options for patients

The latest developments from PCFA-funded research leading the way to improve management of prostate cancer

Recommendations that may assist in managing the side effects of prostate cancer treatments

Q&A session with health professionals on managing the day-to-day challenges of living with prostate cancer

Personal stories shared by those who have experienced prostate cancer

Further information:


Growing nerves to restore erectile function

Excerpt from Pursuit Newsletter,

University of Melbourne

Research is showing that a new microsurgery procedure to regrow nerves to the penis severed during a prostatectomy can successfully restore a man’s ability to have an erection

By Andrew Trounson, University of Melbourne

Plastic surgeon Professor Chris Coombs knows whether his new surgical technique has worked as soon as a patient walks into his office.

“They’re confident, they sit up straight and they’re smiling. They think it’s grouse.”

What they are smiling about is being able to get an erection again, sometimes after as much as a decade of impotency.

Professor Coombs, a microsurgeon at the Royal Children’s Hospital and the Department of Surgery at the University of Melbourne, and urologist Mr David Dangerfield, are at the forefront of establishing a new microsurgery procedure to restore potency to men who have had the erectile nerve connections to their penis damaged after having their prostate removed as a result of cancer.

In 70 per cent of prostatectomies the patient will permanently lose the ability to have an erection, even when “nerve sparing” surgery is used in which surgeons carefully peel erectile nerves away from the prostate.

Because the erectile nerves that pass around the prostate en route to the penis are a web of tiny nerve fibres, it’s almost impossible for surgeons to repair them in the usual way – taking a nerve graft and connecting it end-to-end to the severed nerves.

But a small-scale University of Melbourne study has found that Professor Coombs’ “end-to-side” nerve grafting is successfully restoring erectile function in just over 70 per cent of cases.

The procedure involves connecting a nerve graft to the side of the femoral nerve in the thigh, enabling part of the femoral nerve to branch off and grow into the penis where it can restore the nerve connections.

In the study, lead author Dr Reece independently assessed erectile performance and sexual quality of life using questionnaires filled out both before the procedure and at three to six monthly intervals up to a period of three years after the surgery.

The key difference with the Australian technique, developed by Professor Coombs and Mr Dangerfield, is that they make a slight incision into the nerve fibres of an area of the femoral nerve to increase nerve fibre growth into the nerve graft.

“When you make a slight incision in the nerve fibres you can promote greater growth from the nerve endings,” says Professor Coombs.

The idea behind the surgery is to restore the supply of the chemical that the erectile nerves in the penis transmit to trigger an erection. The same chemical is transmitted by the femoral nerve to help us walk.

The trick then is to link the two together. To do this Professor Coombs takes a 30 centimetre section of the sural nerve in the lower leg to use as a graft. The only side effect of taking this graft from the sural nerve is the loss of some sensation on the outside of the foot.

Parsley for a Healthy Prostate

You might think of it as strictly garnish, but research shows that parsley may deserve higher billing on your plate.

Parsley is rich in apigenin, a type of flavonoid that appears to help put prostate cancer cells into slow-growth mode in lab studies. So pull that little green edible off the edge of your platter and give it a nibble – your prostate could use the benefits of parsley.

Further information:

R U OK? encourages everyone to start a conversation as early as possible, as the earlier you reach out, the more likely the outcome will be a positive one.

We can all make a difference to anyone who’s struggling by having regular, meaningful conversations about life up’s and down’s. If you feel like something’s up with someone you know, trust that gut instinct and take the time to ask them how they’re going.

On Thursday 12th  September we are asking everyone to ask colleagues R U OK?

A free* cuppa and muffin between 10am and 11:30am will be available for staff to stop, have a chat and check in with each other. So please take along one or more of your colleagues and share some time together at one of the venues listed below.

Newcastle University city Newspace campus – Fast Fuel Café

Newcaste University Callaghan Campus – Bar on the Hill, Maths Bus Stop Café, Huxley Library Fast Fuel Café, Auchmuty Library Fast Fuel Café.

Outback 4WD Adventure

Driving for Prostate Cancer Research

WHEN: 7 – 14 Sept, 2019

WHERE: Lightning Ridge, NSW farally/

Blackmores Sydney Running Festival

WHEN: 15 September 2019

WHERE: Bradfield Park, Sydney

Community Conversations
article in newsletter

WHEN – 20th September, 2019
WHERE – Garvan Institute, Darlinghurst

Relay for Life – Maitland
WHEN – 28th September, 2019
WHERE – Marcellin Park, Lorn