Men’s Health Week: Rob Philp urges men to get checked for | The Canberra Times


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Rob Philp’s message to men is simple: get checked. Mr Philp did get checked, but with hindsight in tow, he said he should have done it sooner. The 62-year-old was diagnosed with prostate cancer four years ago. “I had a test two years prior [to his diagnosis] and I should have went back the next year,” he said. “I didn’t and in that two years, my PSA doubled.” The blood level of PSA, prostate-specific antigen, is often elevated in men with prostate cancer. “I was sent to a specialist, had a biopsy and the biopsy indicated I had an aggressive form of prostate cancer,” Mr Philp continued. “Since then I’ve had a prostatectomy, which is the removal of the prostate, two lots of radiation and I’m now what they call stage 4. It’s not curable, but there’s lots of treatments.” Today, 211,000 men live with or beyond prostate cancer and that number is expected to increase to 372,000 by 2040. And with Men’s Health Week starting on Monday, Mr Philp said it was as good a time as any to get checked for prostate cancer. The Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia says men over age 50, or 40 with a family history of prostate cancer, should talk to their doctor about testing for prostate cancer using the PSA blood test or the DRE (digital rectal exam) as part of their annual health check-up. Mr Philp said men can get complacent, but he urged them not to be. “Don’t wait until it happens. Get a regular check-up,” he said. “Men are renowned for putting things off or not doing them at all because they decide they’re too busy. “If they don’t look after their health for themselves, they should do it for their family. For their partners, their children, grandchildren because the impact it has on them is quite substantial. “As a man with prostate cancer, I know it’s just as hard for the wives as the men. They suffer along with you.” Despite what he’s been through, Mr Philp is still a half glass full person – “three quarters full” if you ask him. Fatigue affects him and hot flashes mean he might wake up several times a night, but he manages to still see the silver lining. “I look at having prostate cancer as it’s not great but at least the doctors can treat it in some way,” he said. The 62-year-old keeps fit – he’s set up a gym at home since the coronavirus pandemic hit – and is the president of the Tamworth and District Prostate Cancer Support Group. “The group is there to provide support to men and families,” he said. “They can meet and talk with people in the same situation.” Mr Philp also has a Facebook page – Prostate Cancer my experience, Rob Philp – where he posts regular updates and info.