Prostate cancer is the most prevalent of all cancers in the Goulburn Murray region, representing 27% of all male cancer diagnoses. The biggest risk for prostate cancer is age. Yet, to access the latest and safest diagnostic procedures, local men have had to travel to Melbourne, adding stress for the patient and their family at a time of potential ill health and financial burden.
However, that is all set to change thanks to donations announced on Friday 26 August 2022.
At the 2022 Shepparton Biggest Ever Blokes Lunch, David Hayes announced a gift of $60,000 from local Freemason organisations and Freemasons Foundation Victoria (FFV) towards the purchase of a Trans Perineal Biopsy Machine.
The Freemasons support, initiated by Valley Chapter, and supported by the new Shepparton-Mooroopna Lodge, GV Mark Lodge, Eschol Daylight Lodge, GV Royal Ark Mariner Lodge, and Star of Valley Knight Templar Preceptory, will enable a Trans Perineal Biopsy (TPB) to be undertaken locally through Goulburn Valley Health (GVH), one of Victoria’s major regional health services.
To date, only Trans Rectal Ultrasound (TRUS) biopsies were available at GVH. However, this procedure has a higher risk of infection, which can lead to ICU admission and a higher mortality risk. With an infection risk of almost zero, TPB is now the standard biopsy method at most tertiary and regional hospitals.
The donation (comprising $5,000 from the local Freemasons and $55,000 from FFV) adds to the $60,000 already committed by The Male Bag Foundation.
Rodney Lavin, Chairman of FFV, commended the local Freemasons for their efforts in fundraising to assist with the project.
“Charity is one of the most important tenets of Freemasonry, and there’s nothing that makes me prouder than seeing our Brethren supporting stronger and healthier communities through their activities. We are honoured to be able to enhance their local fundraising through the Freemasons Foundation’s work.”
The GVH local catchment includes Greater Shepparton, Strathbogie, Moira and stretches into Southern New South Wales. GVH currently services a population of 158,000 people, which is expected to increase to 236,000 by 2036.
The Valley Chapter hopes that upgrading the equipment at GVH’s oncology ward will lead to earlier and more accurate detection of prostate problems in the region’s male population.
“We’ve been really encouraged by the work done in the area of prostate and men’s health by the ‘Biggest Ever Blokes Lunch’. Through these events, they’ve raised thousands for prostate research and funded a specialist Nurse position at GVH.
“This is so important as we have an ageing society, which inevitably means more prevalence of prostate cancer in the region. This equipment is a big win for blokes out here, and the community as a whole,” said Geoffrey Thompson, Secretary of Valley Chapter.