By Holly Parkinson
An outback dunny is being driven around Queensland, but the loo is not just a bit of fun; there’s a serious message behind it.
The Queensland Police Service has launched a new Prostate Cancer Awareness campaign which hopes to encourage all male officers to get checked, and for female officers to talk to their family about getting checked.
Springfield Police Station Senior Constable Steve Lindsey is one of the officers driving the ‘dunny on wheels’.
He was diagnosed with prostate cancer in March, 2016.
In a letter to Greenslopes Hospital he explained his story started when his father died of prostate cancer at just 59.
“In Dad’s case he had no symptoms before he began passing blood in his urine and by the time he received his diagnosis it had already spread beyond the prostate and eventually claimed his life,” he said.
Senior Constable Lindsey knew this meant he had a family history and was more at risk, but he had no symptoms.
“In my particular case I shared a conversation with a work colleague… who prompted me to go and get screened for prostate cancer, which I did, and to my horror I was later diagnosed,” he said.
“If hearing the words that you have cancer isn’t bad enough, looking into the eyes of your children and seeing the fear in their faces is almost too much to bear.
“To be honest I couldn’t bring myself to read the pamphlets or watch the DVDs, it was far too scary for me… just the thought of having cancer terrified me.”
In Australia, close to 20,000 men are diagnosed with Prostate Cancer each year and more than 3000 die from the disease.
“This whole project is about men having a conversation,” said Senior Constable Lindsey.
“It’s as simple as guys sitting down chatting to each other.
“In my case, if it had not been for a mate who shared a conversation with me, I would probably be lying on my couch now none the wiser that I had an aggressive cancer within my prostate.”
The new campaign is part of the Queensland Police Service’s Our People Matter strategy, which focuses on the QPS’s commitment towards the health, safety and well-being of employees and their families.
Queensland Police Commissioner Ian Stewart said he was extremely proud of this project and thankful for the support from the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia (PCFA).
“If we save one life that’s a wonderful outcome for that person and more broadly it’s a wonderful outcome for our organisation and the community,” he said.
Urologists and prostate cancer specialist nurses will travel alongside the ‘dunny on wheels’, stopping at 13 rural locations in Queensland where information seminars will be available to all emergency services personnel and their families.