As co-founder and Director of the Australian Centre for Sexual Health at St Luke's Hospital in Sydney in 1992, I realised that a major concern for men with prostate cancer was sexual function after treatment.
As an urologist, it was logical that care for prostate cancer and sexual function go hand in hand and so I became the first person in Australia to specialise exclusively in the care of men with prostate cancer.
I was frustrated to find that, for men with prostate cancer, the best treatment was not available in Australia. So I commenced my journey to ensure the best possible outcomes for each and every one of my patients. This has meant an ongoing worldwide search for innovative treatments, research and collaborations.
In February 2006 I commenced the first robotic program in NSW at St Vincent's Hospital. Since then I have performed over 900 robotic prostate cancer cases.
Whilst times and technologies change, I continue to perform open surgery and, to date, have performed in excess of 4,000 open prostate cancer surgery cases. In non-surgical treatments I was the first to use brachytherapy in Australia. I continue to use it where cancers are extremely aggressive, particularly if they are unlikely to be able to be cured with surgery alone, and have now performed over 1,000 brachytherapies. The experience gathered in all these treatments has been invaluable yet only part of the answer.
The experience of others is critically important when considering any one patient's case. I am currently the chairman of the Multidisciplinary Oncolcogy meetings. These meetings are are conducted across the St Vincent's campus fortnightly and involve eight urologists, three radiation oncologists, two medical oncologists, two pathologists, nuclear medicine physicians and radilogists, genericists, researchers, registrars and fellows and researchers. Around 30 to 40 people attend these meetings and more complex cancer cases, mainly prostate cancer cases, are discussed. The objective is to arrive at a consensus on complex issues so that patients will receive the best possible advice for their treatment.
Finally I would say that research is vitally important. It has informed my approach and the treatments offered. I have been privileged to be able to collaborate with some amazing people. Amongst the best are the the dedicated research team at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research. Without them it would be impossible to define and document the best possible outcomes for my patients at all stages of the condition. Iw ill continue to suppoart and participate in the development and publication of scientific research.