Prostate cancer: Dedicated support group started

Chris and Dianne Ward. Photo: Geoff Sloan
Chris and Dianne Ward. Photo: Geoff Sloan
When Chris Ward was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2018 he learned the importance of a strong support system.

The 70-year-old Lincoln resident decided it was time the Selwyn district had a dedicated support group for men suffering from prostate cancer.

With help from his wife Dianne he started the group in February last year.

They meet on every fourth Wednesday of the month at the Lincoln Event Centre. The group has 40 members and about 25 to 30 men typically attend the meetings.

 

"After I began treatment I went to a support group meeting in Christchurch and I found that very valuable," Mr Ward said.  

"It was great to go along and talk to other people with common issues.

"Out here in Selwyn, I figured there is quite a population of people and one in eight is the general strike rate for prostate cancer, so I thought there could be a lot of people out here who can benefit from some support, too."

He approached the Prostate Cancer Foundation about starting the group and they were very supportive.

The group attracts people from across Selwyn, with members from Darfield, Rolleston, Leeston, Lincoln and Prebbleton.

 

The meetings consist of a sharing session for the men to open up about their struggles and sometimes has guest speakers.

"We also have physios too. They have a very pressing part to play, they can offer a lot of help so they came along and shared what they can do for us.”

About 18 months ago, members of the group started to take part in a pilot programme called Prost-FIT.

It is a fitness group run by Exercise As Medicine NZ, which includes elements of cardio, resistance, boxing and other modalities to improve strength, balance and stamina.

"That has been extremely successful for us and the Prostate Cancer Foundation is looking to expand the programme across the country."

Mr Ward said his two-year check-up in May showed some good news with his prostate-specific antigen levels less than 0.1, which is basically undetectable. 

The Prostate Cancer Foundation is a beneficiary of the Dry July this year.

The event is run by the Dry July NZ Trust and encourages people to go without alcohol for the month and raise money by doing so.

 

A spokeswoman said the money raised by participants will help fund the Prost-FIT programme.

 

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