Remarks - Prostate Cancer Foundation BBQ

11 Sep 2019
Canberra, ACT
Prime Minister

PRIME MINISTER: Well thank you very much for the opportunity to be here once again at this wonderful event. To the Cancer Foundation CEO Jeff Dunn, its Chairman Steve Callister, to the co-chairs of the Parliamentary Friends Warren Entsch and Jason Clare who've been doing this for many years now.

Can I thank you Entschy and Jason for your commitment to this important event each year but also the ongoing campaign and as you could see in what has just been talked about in terms of the nursing for those suffering prostate cancer the message is getting through, the message is getting heard, and the message is being responded to.

Can I also acknowledge Chris Bowen who is here today as the Shadow Health Minister and it is true to say that this is a bipartisan multi-partisan initiative when it comes to issues of this nature.

It's great to see Jim Lloyd here a great friend of obviously the Coalition but Jim is a living reminder - a living reminder, with the underline on living reminder - of the importance of getting the testing in place and getting the awareness levels up. And I want to thank Jim also for the great job he’s doing over a long period of time to raise awareness of these issues.

Most people here, and I can say honestly at this gathering, it is a gathering of people no doubt with strong and loud opinions and this group pipes up on pretty much everything. But one thing that we often don't talk about is our own health. 

Blokes, in particular, are very shy about talking about their own health. But that is changing and this initiative today is one of so many that happens in so many parts of the country which is changing that and I think blokes are listening more to those who they owe the great privilege to be loved by. Their families, their friends, their kids who are impressing upon them the need to take their health as seriously as they take the health of all of their family members and all the ones they love so seriously.

And so we gather here today I think in a growing acknowledgement that that message is getting through. And I particularly want to thank the Prostate Cancer Foundation for bringing us together today. One of the most vital steps in tackling any disease is awareness.

Around 19,000 men have been diagnosed with prostate cancer just this year and this risk increases with age. One in seven blokes will be diagnosed during their lifetime. But the good news is that the survival rates are high. 95 per cent will survive to at least five years, and in my own Dad's case, it's been well over a decade. And we give thanks for every single day that Dad is with us.

There are 200,000 men and more living with a diagnosis of prostate cancer. And the diagnosis is not a death sentence if you get on to it early and if you get the right treatment. So getting that testing is so important and it's a lot less uncomfortable than it used to be.

We're all going to learn a lot more about that today and whilst today is about conversations and awareness, I also want everyone to know that the Government is backing more research and more treatments.

Earlier this year we announced $800,000 for research into how prostate cancer spreads and can become resistant to normal treatments and this is important work. And late last year we gave $12 million to establish the Prostate Cancer Research Alliance which is bringing researchers together to stop prostate cancer progressing and improving treatments and life expectancy for men with advanced cancer. So we're doing our bit and there will always be more to do.

But the message today is pretty simple, blokes - don't muck about with your health. If like me, you've hit the big 50 then you’ve absolutely got to get on to it straight away and must be getting on to it much sooner than that.

Go and talk to your doctor. I did that last Friday as part of my usual check-up and did the usual thing in making sure that these issues were totally sussed out. That's what we all should be doing on a regular basis. Go to your doctor, know the risks, get the test. Treat it like your life depends on it. Because it does. And it's important that we appreciate that. 

And if you can't do it for yourself, do it for your family, do it for your kids, do it for those who love you. Because you know how much you love them.

And you should understand that they love you just as much, and they want you around for as long as possible.

Thank you very much.