29 July 2020


  Woodside - proud supporters of PCFA's MatesCONNECT

Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia is set to boost its support for hundreds of Western Australian men with prostate cancer, thanks to a $100,000 grant from the Woodside COVID-19 Community Fund.

The funding will be used to establish MatesCONNECT, a peer-based support program for men affected by prostate cancer.

PCFA CEO, Professor Jeff Dunn AO, said the service would be accessible to more than 2000 WA men who are newly diagnosed each year.

“About 2100 Western Australian men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year, and tragically nearly 300 will die of the disease,” he said.

“The new MatesCONNECT program will be accessible statewide, with a particular focus on supporting men’s health in regional and rural areas, growing our peer-support outreach into regional communities, and building stronger supportive care networks to ensure men and families affected by the disease receive the support they need, even during times of acute crisis, such as COVID-19.”

According to PCFA, about 2000 Western Australian men and families currently lack access to specialist prostate cancer nursing and peer support, a number set to grow if no action is taken.

“By 2040 we predict there will be about 38,000 men living with or beyond prostate cancer in Western Australia, representing a 76 per cent increase from 21,500 today and the greatest number of men or women diagnosed with any single cancer in the state,” Prof Dunn said.

“It’s common for Western Australian men to struggle with understanding their treatment options and many are unable to access evidence-based information about the pros and cons of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation treatment or hormonal therapy.

“It’s a tragic fact that on any given day men with prostate cancer are already at a 70 per cent increased risk of suicide compared to the general population. These men deserve our support.”

The new program is set to start in September this year for Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.

PCFA’s Head of Community Services, Chris McNamara, commended Woodside for its commitment.

“Research shows that peer-run self-help programs deliver significant improvement in psychological and psychosocial quality of life, resulting in decreased hospitalisation, enriched social support networks, and enhanced self-esteem and social functioning.

“This grant will be a game-changer for men in WA affected by prostate cancer. Importantly, the program responds to the evidence that men who have a lived experience of prostate cancer can be a source of great strength and support for those newly impacted by the disease.

“Those who understand what it’s like to live through a prostate cancer diagnosis are well-placed to offer emotional and informational support to other men, providing solidarity throughout survivorship, when many men face ongoing side-effects from their treatment.

“MatesCONNECT will build on foundations of shared personal experience and empathy, with a focus on survivorship, wellbeing, and recovery. We welcome Woodside’s support for this life-changing service,” he said.

For more information, email enquiries@pcfa.org.au or visit www.pcfa.org.au