‘I was diagnosed with prostate cancer via telehealth’

Nov 07, 2020
Steve Garlick was diagnosed with aggressive prostate cancer via telehealth. Source: Getty (model posed for image).

I was working at Oakey Creek coal mine in Emerald, Queensland in August last year when [not-for-profit organisation] ManUp came to do a presentation at work about looking after your health and highlighted the telehealth platform Maxwell Plus.

I was also a FIFO worker at a mine in Indonesia so it wasn’t easy for me to stay on top of my health until I realised telehealth made it simple. So I joined and in September I had my first blood test on the recommendation of the telehealth platform.

I was told I needed another in October and another in January and I was found to be showing signs of mild cancer and that I should have a biopsy. They weren’t confident with the results of the first blood test that I’d had, so they said they needed a second one just to compare, and then a third one.

I had the biopsy in February and I was diagnosed with aggressive prostate cancer. However, I went for an MRI scan first, which they used as a guide for the biopsy.

At this point, however, they had put a hold on all elective surgery in Australia due to Covid-19. So, Dr Peter Swindle, had the biopsy tested again and convinced [the government] to let me go into surgery.

I wish I would’ve been tested earlier, but it was devastating when you’re told you’ve got cancer. In April I had my prostate removed. I’ve been cancer-free in the last two tests and I have another test coming up next month.

I wasn’t hesitant about the procedure, I just relied on Dr Swindle because he was so excellent. He just said, ‘look at your age, we’re better off taking it out and then you can live a normal life’. He told me it’s 90 to 95 per cent effective of catching cancer and he said if you were older, if I was in my 70s or 80s, he would just do the chemotherapy treatment.

Of course, there are side effects. There’s incontinence, which was very very mild and then erectile dysfunction (ED) which is slowly coming back now. And Dr Swindle walked me all through that and I was still prepared to have the surgery because it was going to save my life.

I am 61 years of age. I had no symptoms of prostate cancer and often you don’t which is why it’s so important to be proactive when it comes to your health. My son is 41 years old and he’s starting to do the PSA test now every year. I reckon anyone above 40 should start getting tested.

IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO This article is of a general nature and FYI only, because it doesn’t take into account your personal health requirements or existing medical conditions. That means it’s not personalised health advice and shouldn’t be relied upon as if it is. Before making a health-related decision, you should work out if the info is appropriate for your situation and get professional medical advice.

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