In March 2022, Allan wasn’t feeling like himself: “You know your body and you know when something’s not right. I would have probably ignored the symptoms for a while, but my wife just made a GP appointment, and I did as I was told.”
Based in Orange, in the Central Tablelands of NSW, Allan underwent a series of tests locally, and was formally diagnosed with prostate cancer in April 2022. He was referred to Canberra for a PET scan to rule out any spread. Allan local GP noted:
“Your wife just saved your life!”
Allan with his wife, Sue, who live in Orange NSW.
In August 2022, Allan started 20 rounds of radiotherapy in his hometown, when he was prescribed a drug that was not listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). Worryingly, it was going to cost Allan $84,000 over two years. Allan paid for the first month wondering how he was going to come up with the rest of the payments.
After consultation with his medical oncologist, it was determined the dose could be quartered and retain effectiveness, which meant the drug would now cost Allan $21,000 over two years — a welcome relief, but “that sort of money really bites”.
It was a social worker who approached Can Assist Orange for support, and helpfully funded the next four months of medication and agreed to fund a further four months in year two, which proved to be a relief for Allan:
“I was really gob smacked by the generosity of Can Assist and am so grateful. To know there are people in the community looking out for others who they don’t even know … that makes me think about what the volunteers do and how much they give,” he says.
Thankfully, the cancer drugs had no side effects for Allan — only the steroids he was also required to take generated minor effects. In fact, the drug has been so effective that Allan will now cease taking it after just 18 months, with a good prognosis.
Now, he’s looking forward to living a long and healthy life alongside his wife Sue, their daughters Melinda, Kylie and Tegan, and eight grandchildren.