September was Prostate Awareness month. I didn’t raise it with you then because let’s face it, who wants to talk about prostates at the best of times? Even though it is the cancer that most impacts Australian men. Breast Cancer Awareness month falls in October and over time, we have all become much more comfortable and onboard with highlighting the importance of breast health checks.
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Breast Cancer Awareness
In August, Tricia asked me to feel her breast.
To be honest, it is an offer I would normally jump at. But this request was right after dinner and in a house of four teenage offspring, well, the timing made me dubious that this was leading down a path I would be happy to follow.
The look on her face and the tone of her voice left me less than optimistic.
Sure enough, we were in for a time of uncertainty – a decent lump needed to be explored.
Fortunately for us, the news was good in that this lump was not cancerous. It gave me a sense of relief and heightened the feeling of compassion for the women who are not receiving such positive news.
I doubt there is a person in Australia who doesn’t know someone who has been impacted by breast cancer.
Breast cancer is still the most common cancer impacting Australian women. With time, money and dedication, survival rates continue to improve.
Increased awareness has led to better outcomes for the women in our community, and awareness has come from the many women who have been prepared to share their stories and encourage us all to understand the warning signs of breast cancer and take action to have regular testing.
There is no doubt that awareness saves lives.
Prostate Cancer Awareness
A little while ago, someone I remember from my days in the Queensland Police Service appeared in a series of news articles talking about prostate cancer.
Greg Smith shared his story of checking for prostate cancer with a simple blood test that uses an algorithm and artificial intelligence to make the process simple. Turns out another copper I knew, Peter Jenkins, had also shared his story of a similar blood test in a news story too.
Hearing Greg’s story made me and a couple of other blokes here at Churchill take up the option of having the blood test.
Maybe you are too young to think about prostate cancer. One of the Churchill team’s family members died of it at 44, leaving behind a widow and four kids, and never getting to meet his 11 grandchildren.
Maybe you feel too young to get breast cancer. One of our Churchill colleagues has survived breast cancer in her 30s – and you’re right, it is too young and still it was a reality for her.
Chances are that we all know someone who should think about getting checked for either of these cancers regularly. And if we are all lucky, we will live to an age where regular check-ups become a sign we have kicked around on this planet for a good time.
As our Lead RPL Assessor Nick always says, any day we wake up is a good day; full of old wisdom, our mate Nick.
So, rather than avoiding the sometimes uncomfortable conversations, I thought I’d give everyone a gentle nudge in the direction of looking after yourselves and looking after others by reminding you all: go beyond awareness to taking action.
Whether that is signing up for a check yourself or encouraging those you care about to do the same, these are important conversations.
Co-Founder, Churchill Education