Consumer: Chris Spencer finds out more

The VCCC shares areas of public interest in cancer research and clinical care, and regularly hosts free, open forums to promote knowledge-sharing and understanding.

Information of these community touch-points is available on the VCCC website and is promoted across the alliance and through organisations such as Cancer Council Victoria and through hospital communications teams. Consumers are welcome and encouraged to attend these events.

*Chris Spencer
Consumer, retired small business owner, prostate cancer patient

I was diagnosed with prostate cancer about six months before I came along to an event at the VCCC. I heard about this meeting talking about clinical trials through a friend at my carer support group.

Finding out about cancer

My cancer came as a bit of a shock as I didn’t really have any symptoms. I also had a view that even if you had an enlarged prostate, any growth would be slow and old age would probably get me before the cancer did! I went in to get some blood taken for cholesterol and ended up finding I had a high PSA. And then an examination revealed a lump. I was referred by my GP and had an operation followed by radiation treatment.

Carer support group

I go to a Men’s Shed and ended up having a conversation with one of the blokes there. I was quite upset after the operation as I had some problems – especially with my water-works. He told me about a carer support group which I went along to. I don’t know if things would have been any different, but I wish I had known some of the things I learnt at the support group before I had my op. I maybe wouldn’t be quite so quick.

I’m a lot more savvy now. I have never really been one to worry about my health but I do think the more you know about something, the better off you are. Nowadays if I see something in the local paper or hear about it in meetings, I’ll make a bit of an effort to go along.

Cancer Clinical Trials: The Science, The Stories

I went to this event at the VCCC because I didn’t really know anything about clinical trials.

My thinking was that they are ‘last chance’ approaches. I could not have been more wrong! The evening was really interesting and informative. They had a few doctors who spoke and explained what clinical trials are and why people should go on one if they get the chance.

They also had a bloke that had been treated at St Vincent’s for lung cancer and a lady who had been through countless treatments with breast cancer that just kept coming back. She lived up the country and talked about how hard it can be sometimes when you have to drop everything and travel to the city.

It really helped me make up my mind. Things are good for me at the moment, but if I needed to go on a clinical trial and there was one available, I would definitely do it.

*Name changed for privacy reasons.