Acting Treasurers Report

We are expecting a donation from Pelican Flat RSL Sub Branch and have offered to visit them when safe and deliver the Ambassador talk by Gary Herrett. Extending this sort of activity is to be part of our efforts to raise awareness following the Ravensworth donation.

I had a hair cut this morning, not that you need to know about that, but it did give me an idea of promoting our Group through Mens Barber Shops. We would need a small rack to hold our flyers, a poster along the lines of some already proposed and maybe some give-away item. We would need to get further up the Hunter to mining communities and have a system of replenishing stocks of flyers etc as necessary. We would also need a list of all barbers and volunteers to sell in the concept. I just looked into Yellow Pages and found 26 shops. Many ladies hairdressers also do mens cuts and since prostate cancer also affects wives and partners we could include them too. Comments please !

Maryland Neighbourhood Centre will not be charging room hire until such times that decide to go back. Hopefully we can get at least one face to face meeting in before 2020 is put to bed As always we need input from members on any aspect of Group activities including how to progress into the future. Volunteers willing to be part of the operating committee will definitely be needed if we are to complete our obligation to Ravensworth and keep the Group alive. This will be the major topic for the next face to face meeting so please give it your serious consideration.

Positions vacant include : Meeting Convener, Publicity Officer, Venue Manager ( including room set up and kitchen/catering management ), Treasurer ( replacing current Acting Treasurer ). Etc. etc.

Details of responsibilities to follow.

Mike Seddon


A great thanks goes out to Greg Millan for speaking to our last Zoom meeting. I am sure it resonated with the group in

attendance. Great resources to look into also. Much appreciated from us all at HPCSG, Greg.

 NEWSLETTER  If  you  are  aware  of any organisation or person who would

 like to receive our HPCSG newsletter, please  ask  them  to  advise  Brendon

 Young, editor to be included in our  electronic mailout. Some articles  within this newsletter have been edited

for conciseness.


Mental Health and the Prostate

Your mental health is how you think, feel, and behave. Your physical health is the state of your body when you consider the presence or absence of bodily illness and fitness. Your mental and physical health are also connected, meaning that one effects the other.

People living with chronic (persistent or long-term) physical conditions are more likely to experience poor mental health than those who are well, and those who have poor mental health are at a higher risk of developing problems with their physical health.

Prostateconditionsincluding prostate
enlargement, prostatitis and prostatecancer,andthe

treatments that are used to treat them, are no different.

It is important to know that your feelings about any prostate problems are valid.

Feeling stressed, anxious or depressed when you are living with troubling symptoms is completely normal and you don’t need to feel guilty or ashamed to ask for support. In fact, asking for support, from your partner, a friend or your doctor, is the first step in the right direction to better health.

If you experience any of the following symptoms, you should consider speaking with your doctor to find out what to do next.

  • Sad, down or depressed.
  • Tired or a lack of energy.
  • Trouble concentrating or lack of motivation.
  • Mood swings.
  • Increased or reduced appetite.
  • Sex drive changes.
  • Trouble coping with daily problems or stress.
  • Trouble getting to sleep.
  • Disconnection from friends and/or family.

Loss of interest in activities that you normally enjoy.

For more information about prostate cancer, visit the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia at

For more information about incontinence,


Further reading:


  1. A systematic review of quantitative observational studies investigating psychological distress in testicular cancer survivors. Smith et al. Psychooncology 27(4): 1129-37, 2018

New initiative helps older Australians access

online banking with confidence


A new course launched by the eSafety Commissioner today, as part of the Be Connected program, seeks to make online banking both safer, and more accessible, to more older Australians.

While two-thirds of seniors do undertake online banking at least monthly, many are still reticent to, mainly due to security concerns, so this course is vital to increasing their confidence.

“We take for granted that online banking has been widely adopted, but for many older Australians, ‘taking the plunge’ can be a huge leap of faith — the idea of having your money accessible and transferrable with one click can be both liberating and incredibly frightening,” said eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant.

eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant said 75% of older Australians were concerned about the safety and security of online banking, so we designed the course around building their confidence in this area.

The course will teach older Australians to transfer funds, check balances, download statements, pay bills – and will help them to set strong passwords, avoid scams and use safe ways to communicate with their bank,” she said.

It also features a simulated online bank, called Squirrel Bank — to help older Australians practice skills learned in the course and help increase their confidence to bank online.

“Learning how to access online banking safely is critical for older Australians,” added Inman Grant.

Australian Banking Association CEO Anna Bligh welcomed the initiative from the eSafety Commissioner.

“We want banking to be accessible and safe for all bank customers. Be Connected will help older customers gain the confidence they need to bank online.

“Importantly the module covers both banking essentials and online safety information to help warn people of potential fraud and scams.

“Remember a bank will never ask for your account details, PIN or passwords,” she said.

The Be Connected program is an Australian government initiative committed to improving the online confidence, skills and safety of older Australians. The new online banking course can be found on the Be Connected site.

For more information / arrange an interview, please see contact below.

Gavin Hanbridge

02 9334 7731 and 0429 533 611 or

HPCSG NEWSLETTER OCTOBER 2020  3                                                                                                                                                                                            

Next HPCSG Zoom meeting 13th October 2020:

You are invited to HPCSG next Zoom meeting.

Topic: HPCSG meeting

Time: Oct 13, 2020 2:00 PM Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney

Join Zoom Meeting, click below:

Meeting ID: 892 4294 0192

Passcode: HPCSG

Find your local number: Further Zoom information



The Bath House Garden is a private country garden just minutes from the centre of Maitland.

The peaceful, rustic charm of this

seasonal garden, flows around a country

home and small lake, with both

ornamental and productive spaces.

A cottage style garden room beautifully furnished and with French doors overlooking the lake is the perfect place for tea and cake.

Open Garden Dates/Times

OctoberSunday 1810:00AM – 4:00PM
NovemberSunday 1510:00AM – 4:00PM
JanuarySunday 1710:00AM – 4:00PM
FebruarySunday 2110:00AM – 4:00PM
MarchSunday 2110:00AM – 4:00PM
AprilSunday 1810:00AM – 4:00PM
MaySunday 1610:00AM – 4:00PM

Entry Fee: $10 Adult

Children under 16 – $5

At other times private group Garden Tours can be arranged by appointment. $15 pp (min group number 10)

Please note this is a country garden with an accessible lake and other water features, so children must remain with an adult at all times. There are toilet facilities in the garden.

There is ample public parking and full disabled toilets 100m from the garden at Walka Water Works.

Contact Sue 0429 117180


World leading Prostate Theranostics and

Imaging Centre of Excellence (ProsTIC) opens in Australia.

26 June 2020

Source – Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia.

By Dr Jacqueline Schmitt – Manager, Research Programs for PCFA

In a major development for prostate cancer research and treatment in Australia, the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre has just launched the Prostate Theranostics and Imaging Centre of Excellence (ProsTIC).

Australian researchers are world leaders in theranostics for prostate cancer. ProsTIC brings together a large multi-disciplinary team to drive state of the art research to develop new prostate cancer treatments. The team will study all stages of discovery from basic research, to pre-clinical research to clinical trials.

What is theranostics?

Managing a disease such as prostate cancer often requires continual tests and treatments. These tests and treatments can have side effects, are often expensive and interrupt daily life. Theranostics is a way to manage diseases like cancer through combining therapy and diagnostics. Indeed, the word theranostics is derived from the words therapy and diagnostic. The diagnostic test helps the clinician determine who might benefit from the therapy and once therapy has commenced, it provides a way to monitor the progress of the patient. Theranostics aim to increase survival, reduce side effects and reduce the overall number of tests and treatments that a patient must undergo.

Theranostics for prostate cancer.

A theranostics approach to diagnose and treat prostate cancer requires two things:

  • A diagnostic – a way to locate the prostate cancer cells are in the body and monitor any change
  • A therapy – a way to kill the prostate cancer cells wherever they are in the body

In our blog earlier this year we reported the outcome of a PCFA funded phase III, multi-centre randomised clinical trial that tested the benefits of PSMA-PET scans for the diagnosis of prostate cancer. This study called ProPSMA was led by researchers from the Peter MacCallum cancer centre and is one of the key studies that has led to the establishment of ProsTIC (Prostate Theranostics and Imaging Centre of Excellence).

The ProPSMA study used PSMA-PET scans to detect prostate tumours that had spread to different parts of the body (metastases). PSMA, short for prostate specific membrane antigen, is a protein found on the surface of prostate cancer cells. A PSMA-PET scan is a very sensitive way of detecting prostate cancer cells. The approach uses a radioactive tracer molecule called Galium-68 linked to a molecule that, when in the body, can find and attach to PSMA on the surface of prostate cancer cells. This causes the cells to light up and be clearly seen on the PET scan (more information about this is in our previous blog).

Researchers conducted the ProPSMA study to determine if PSMA-PET scans were more accurate for detecting metastatic prostate tumours than the more commonly used CT and bone scans. The researchers also wanted to know if the results obtained from a PSMA-PET scan would change treatment decisions and reduce radiation exposure. The trial recruited men diagnosed with high-risk localised disease as determine from their biopsies. The key findings of this study are:

  • PSMA-PET scans correctly identified 85% of men with metastatic tumours, compared to only 38% for CT and bone scans
  • PSMA-PET scans were more likely to change treatment plans (28% of cases compared to 15% for CT and bone scans).
  • Men having PSMA-PET scans had less radiation exposure during their scans than men having CT and bone scans.
  • Men having PSMA-PET scans were less likely to have uncertain results from their tests (7% versus 23% uncertain findings from CT and bone scans).


The ProPSMA study showed that PSMA-PET scans are a very sensitive way to diagnose metastatic prostate cancer. You can read more about this study here.

To develop a therapy to combine with the PSMA-PET scan diagnostic, the radioactive tracer molecule was replaced with a radioactive molecule called Lutetium-177 creating a new molecule

called 177Lu-PSMA -617 (Lu-PSMA for short). Once in the body, Lu-PSMA travels through the blood, attaches to prostate cancer cells and kills them.

In 2018, researchers from the Peter MacCallum cancer centre published the results of a small phase II single-centre clinical trial called LuPSMA trial that aimed to determine if Lu-PSMA was safe and effective as a treatment for men with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer whose disease had progressed after standard treatments. The trial recruited 30 men with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer whose disease had progressed after standard treatments including chemotherapy and second-generation androgen deprivation therapies. The results of the study were very promising and include

  • PSA levels decreased by at least 50% in 17 of the men (57% of cases)
  • Low toxicity – common side effects included dry mouth (87% of cases), nausea (50% of cases) and fatigue (50% of cases). A small number (13%) showed reduced platelet cells in their blood.
  • Reduced Pain Levels

This study paved the way for the Peter MacCallum team to launch the TheraP clinical trial supported by a partnership between PCFA and ANZUP (Australian and New Zealand Urogenital and Prostate Cancer Trials Group). This multi- centre randomised phase II trial recruited 200 men with metastatic castration resistant prostate cancer whose disease had progressed after chemotherapy. The study compared LuPSMA theranostics with cabazitaxel treatment (a standard chemotherapy treatment). The study is still ongoing, but interim results were presented in May at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Scientific Virtual Meeting.

Interim results from TheraP show :

  • PSA levels decreased by at least 50% in 66% of men on LuPSMA compared to 37% of men on cabazitaxel.
  • Different side effects were observed for the different treatment. Only 1 man discontinued LuPSMA treatment compare to 3 men in the cabazitaxel group.

These are very promising results, but we will have to wait for the trial to be completed before we will know if LuPSMA increases overall survival in men with metastatic castration resistant prostate cancer.

What does theranostics mean for Australian men with prostate cancer?

Theranostics for prostate cancer offers new hope to Australian men and families impacted by the disease. Australia is a world leader in theranostics and the launch of the Prostate Theranostics and Imaging Centre of Excellence (ProsTIC) at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre paves the way for theranostics to become standard of care for prostate cancer in the future.

ProsTIC is currently running a number of other clinical trials using LuPSMA, you can find more information on these trials at this link For more information about ProsTIC is available at

You can also watch the recent PCFA webinar called Personalised prostate cancer treatment of the future where Professor Michael Hofman and Professor Declan Murphy discuss theranostics for prostate cancer with PCFA CEO Professor Jeff Dunn AO.

PCFA will continue to advocate for affordable access to new treatments like these and invest in life-saving research to ensure no man dies before his time.

Peter MacCallum Centre,

Melbourne, Victoria


What a difference a coronavirus makes

Prior to COVID-19 changing pretty much everything in our world, there were already plans to establish a ‘virtual hospital’ in Sydney. But before the pandemic, many clinicians and health professionals were unconvinced of the benefits of caring for people in their own homes using technology.

Now, pretty much every health provider, hospital, doctor and specialist surgery in Australia is looking at how they can provide services more

effectively, using telehealth, not just for patients in rural and remote areas, but for those who live locally, too. And this ‘virtual transformation’ of the health sector is sure to continue post-Coronavirus.

Positives outweigh the negatives

Private Health fund holders can often use their Extras cover to see practitioners including psychologists, dieticians and occupational therapists via telehealth services to virtual doctor and specialist visits, all signs point to a different future for the health care sector post-pandemic.

Other treatments available via telehealth and claimable on your Extras cover include: speech pathology, physiotherapy, exercise physiology, osteopathy and podiatry. Using the HICAPS system, you pay for the treatments in the same way as non-virtual treatment and you only pay the gap for the treatment, if there is one. If, in the rare case, your practitioner doesn’t use HICAPS, you can claim from your private health fund.

When it comes to treatments such as psychology and dietetics, many feel there are more benefits to receiving treatment via video calls than the traditional methods. Time saved on travel to and from appointments, as well as less time wasted on missed appointments are beneficial to both patient and practitioner.

In the past, due to government and health care body regulations, it has been difficult for the health care sector to embrace reform. But the COVID-19 pandemic has driven major innovations, unlike during the years of incremental change that preceded it. The developments reflect new ways of working, breaking down some of the barriers that have held back innovation.

Telehealth consultations with GPs were previously not widely available or covered by Medicare. These were due to end on 30 September, 2020, but the Australian Government has announced that Medicare-subsidised telehealth for general practitioners, nursing, midwifery, allied health and allied mental health services will now continue until 31 March 2021. The Australian Medical Association and the Royal Australasian College of Physicians support this, and are campaigning for the practice to be made permanent. With more than 13 million telehealth consultations having taken place by mid-June 2020, their introduction represents approximately 10 years of health care reforms compressed into a matter of weeks.


The way forward


Telehealth services are not only changing medical treatment as we know it, but also have major benefits for the wider population, which include reducing health services’ carbon footprint, lowering healthcare workers’ and patients’ exposure to infection, and supporting the sustainability of health and medical practices.

And what about that ‘virtual hospital’ in Sydney? RPA Virtual Hospital opened on 3 February with six nurses. Operating out of the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital campus in Camperdown in Sydney’s inner west, it now has 30 nurses and 600 registered patients. Several hundred people registered with RPA Virtual Hospital for Coronavirus care, most of whom have now been ‘discharged’.

To help you navigate your healthcare needs during COVID-19, we encourage you to use your Extras cover for a range of telehealth services. This means you can receive treatment via telephone or video consultation with your health practitioner and where the HICAPS system is in use you just pay the gap, if there is one.

Cheesy Pumpkin Puffs

These 5-ingredient cheesy puffs are cooked in a muffin pan and

are perfect for an after lunch treat.

Prep: 0.15 min. Cook: 0.25min. Makes: 12. Super easy


520g (2 cups) mashed cooked pumpkin

80g (1 cup) Grated Cheddar

2 eggs, lightly whisked

150g (1 cup) self-raising flour

  • cup chopped fresh chives, plus extra to serve (optional)


  1. Preheat the over to 180C/160C fan-forced. Lightly grease twelve 80ml (1/3cup)muffin pans.
  • Place all the ingredients in a large bowl and season. Use a spatula to fold the ingredients together until well combined. Divide mixture among the prepared muffin pans
  • Bake for 25 minutes or until golden (they will sink slightly on cooling). Set aside in the pans for 5 minutes to cool slightly. Use a flat-bladed knife to gently remove the muffins from the pans. Serve warm or at room temperature, sprinkled with extra chopped chives if you wish.