Prostate Cancer and Lawn Bowls

Why am I writing about prostate cancer when we should be focused on lawn bowls?

It has everything to do with lawn bowls and everything to do with men’s health. Both are fundamentally linked.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in Australian men. In 2022, it is estimated that a male has a 1 in 6 (or 17%) risk of being diagnosed with prostate cancer by the age of 85. Do the math. How many men are members of the Brighton Bowling Club? If that hasn’t got your interest then think of your family. Men who have a close relative with prostate cancer may be twice as likely to develop the disease, while those with two or more relatives may be nearly four times as likely to be diagnosed. The risk is higher if the affected family members were diagnosed before age 60. Think of your sons, grandsons, for some great grandsons.

Only recently I read an inspiring article by Lee Farrell our coach. It was a very personal article about
he and Catherine’s challenges with dealing with Lee’s prostate cancer diagnosis. It can be found on the ‘Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia’ web page.

It really hit home especially as he shared his and Catherine’s journey when confronted with ongoing challenges, they have both had to face over time. It is still a journey. Rather than sit back and crawl under a rock he and Catherine decided to enjoy life to the fullest.

As some of you are aware, I and Terry have had the same struggle with this insidious disease which I was diagnosed with almost two years ago now. I know some of you have had it and are dealing with the consequences. There are probably many more who have their own private battles with prostate cancer. It is a pain in the arse, excuse the pun, but one you can beat if you have a positive and realistic outlook on life.

When I spoke to you on the 10th September during my two presentations, I talked about how lucky we are. I acknowledge that everyone has their own personal story and that it is hard for many. With that in mind let’s not allow the everyday things upset us and distract us from enjoying our lives. Live on the edge, don’t take prisoners.

For me, complaints about life in a bowling club; selection, personalities and the like, invade my personal space. They are distractions and get in the way of our enjoyment of life. Enjoy bowls for what it is, a happy time to smell the roses, play competitive sport and have a cleansing ale at the
end. Don’t be precious.

If you haven’t done so already, I urge you to read Lee’s story. It is a profound one. Since he wrote
his story, Lee has now been diagnosed with an advanced level of prostate cancer. It is something, in his words, he could have addressed earlier if he was more informed. Despite his diagnosis, he and Catherine have not sat on their hands but instead have ticked off a number of bucket list items, including travelling and playing lawn bowls around our great country. Their road ahead is a bumpy

As Lee says, you need to be proactive with your awareness about prostate cancer. ‘It is so important that you get checked NOW’. If you are diagnosed with it, you need to stay strong and accept the support of your family. Don’t be frightened of the journey that confronts you. Constantly challenge yourself from a social, family and sporting perspective to keep ahead of issues such as depression.

Think positively about life and what and how you commit to it. Your life partner is also part of this story. They feel your angst just as much as you do. It’s a team thing. Partners, kick your soul-mates up the you know what! Get them to recognise the risk and take action by getting tested regularly.

As Lee also says, be proactive with men’s health. Be regular with your PSA blood tests and where appropriate the finger examination. It isn’t painful fellas. Get a grip-and think what the girls have to put up with during pregnancy, child birth and much more. Believe me, there is simply no comparison. Don’t be a sook and put it off because it isn’t a ‘manly thing to do. I had a work colleague a few years ago who was reluctant to have the finger. The doctor sensed his reluctance and said to him ‘Ian, (not his real name), the only time you have to worry is if you can see both my hands!. He had the test and still does regularly. I have lost too many mates who had the mindset of putting this off to another day or simply ignoring it altogether.

None of us are bullet proof even though some of us might think we are. Don’t accept an ambivalent medical practitioner (sadly, they are out there). Ask Lee about his experience. Go to one who is proactive in ensuring prostate cancer screening is done properly and if present it is caught early.


Click on the link below which is the website for the Prostate Cancer Found of Australia. Read Lee and Catherine’s story entitled ‘The Big C – Lee Farrell in his own words on battling prostate cancer’.

There are also many informative links on this web page, including current research programs, awareness, support services available and an online community login you could
join if you chose to. Be informed it may save your life. Man up; Get a Grip.

Your family is your strength. Be their strength by being proactive with regular blood tests and the like to ensure if you do have prostate cancer then you catch it early. It just may save your life.

Mick Lyons


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