MAN UP: Founders Brian and Jill Costello with Brisbane-based Queensland Freemason Malcolm Campbell and Childers-based Freemason Allan Baldwin outside the Isis Masonic Lodge for the prostate cancer awareness talk.
MAN UP: Founders Brian and Jill Costello with Brisbane-based Queensland Freemason Malcolm Campbell and Childers-based Freemason Allan Baldwin outside the Isis Masonic Lodge for the prostate cancer awareness talk. Leah Kidd

Statewide tour promotes prostate awareness

MAN Up is the message being delivered to the region's men as a statewide tour promotes prostate cancer awareness.

The group visited 37 towns in 37 days, Childers forming the final leg of the trip. Two vintage cars travelled with the tour to attract attention and send a symbolic message,

Man Up! For Prostate Cancer speaker and prostate cancer survivor Carl Neilson said the cars, a 1924 Dodge ute and a 1942 Dodge carryall, conveyed their own message.

"They're here because they've been looked after, and it's symbolic because if you look after your body, it will be here for you too," he said. "We need to drive that message home."

But Mr Neilson said the reality was quite different.

"Men hide out in shame. They don't want to talk about their health, sexual health in particular."

But that certainly wasn't the case in Childers on September 25 as men came from near and far for the event, the Isis Masonic Lodge packed with men and their supportive wives and mothers.

Prostate cancer survivor Brian Costello founded Man Up! For Prostate Cancer with his wife Jill after his own cancer experience revealed a lack of information and support.

He said there were lots of campaigns and support for women's cancers but "none" for men's.

"It's not right. It's not fair," he said.

Mr Costello's wife and co-founder of Man Up!, Jill, said it was disappointing to see such a disparity in support between breast cancer and prostate cancer.

"I had breast cancer and had the same nurse for five years," Mrs Costello said.

"Then when Brian was diagnosed (with prostate cancer) there was just no support."

Mrs Costello said her husband was given little more than a brochure after his diagnosis.

"They said, 'Here's a pamphlet, go away and read it' - and you need a lot more than that, you need help," she said.

Mr Costello said the group aimed to get the message of prostate cancer out there.

"About how severe and common this disease is and what you need to do about it," he said.

"With prostate cancer at the moment there is nothing you can do to prevent it.

"It's a bit like Lotto. If your number's up you're going to get it."

He said it was important men knew there were no early symptoms and they needed to have annual tests.

"I had none. You need to be proactive. On a yearly basis, have a PSA test.

"You can't sit on your backside and do nothing."



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