He may not know it, but former Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer Wayne Swan was one of the catalysts that brought about the book Below the Belt: Experiences with Prostate Cancer.
Brisbane GP and Former Editor of the Queensland Prostate Cancer News (QPCN) for the state chapter of the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia, Dr Judith O’Malley-Ford was the other catalyst after she sent out an open invitation to readers of the magazine to share their story.
When asked about her role in putting together the newsletter, Dr O’Malley-Ford says “I may have twisted a few arms, gently.” After receiving Wayne Swan’s story, a slow trickle turned into a steady stream. Soon the stories started arriving spontaneously.
As you can imagine, in putting the newsletter together Dr O’Malley-Ford often had to “edit the grammar, cut out some of the more juicy language and ensure that the content was suitable for a mixed gender readership.” She says that the writers “were really very big hearted, and open in their descriptions. Some of them were so detailed, they gave a blow by blow description of every movement, and every pee. All of this was done from the patient’s perspective.”
Then, Victorian based book publisher Busybird Publishing decided to put together a book about men’s prostate cancer stories and called for submissions, contacting Dr O’Malley-Ford as Editor of QPCN. In due course, she submitted three poems are published in the book.
Below the Belt: Experiences with Prostate Cancer is filled with stories and poetry from those who have been courageous enough to share their experiences – a library of information that is educational, but also shows the importance of seeking support. It’s about opening up to reveal that it’s not a disease to be taken on alone.
The book has been written to share concern about the fact that prostate cancer kills more men than breast cancer does women. Men are stoic but often solitary when it comes to health. They not infrequently combine a lack of knowledge, fear, and solitude to make the battle more difficult.
A Joint Project between Hire a Hubby Australia and Busybird Publishing, $5 from every book sold will be donated to the Prostate cancer Foundation of Australia. The book can be purchased here.
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