On Friday 11 May, Prostate Cancer Institute representatives attended Parliament House as the fundraising committee was honoured for achieving the establishment of the very first Prostate Cancer Institute in NSW.

Hon. Marie Ficarra, MLC, Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier, extended a warm welcome to the committee and other people that received awards for their contribution to NSW in the Jubilee Room at Parliament House, Sydney.  Also receiving awards was the Signorelli family, one of the supporters of the Prostate Cancer Institute, for their contribution to society.

John Green, the outgoing and retiring chairman of the Prostate Cancer Institute was also honoured for his contribution to society spanning more than 40 years.    John was Chairman of the Cancer Care Lodge fundraising committee that raised considerable funds to build a facility that has provided 62,000 room nights since opening in June 1998.

John chaired the Prostate Cancer Institute fund raising committee and was praised for his efforts along with Patron Paul Martell, and committee representatives, Phill Bates AM, Ferdie Dominelli, Professor John Kearsley, Dr Bill Lynch, Warren O’Rourke, Dr Kiran Phadke, Rob Robson and Patrice Thomas.

The committee’s effort in raising more than $3 million dollars to provide the most comprehensive treatment facility for men suffering prostate cancer, was praised by the Hon. Marie Ficarra and supported by the Upper House.  The Prostate Cancer Institute, opened by the Hon. Jillian Skinner, Minister for Health, in August 2011, is the only public hospital providing every treatment option under the one roof.

Committee representatives with the Award.

John Green and wife Lorna were delighted with their award.


The Prostate Cancer Institute was officially opened by the Minister for Health, Hon Jillian Skinner in August 2011.

The St George Cancer Centre was remodelled and enhanced to accommodate the Prostate Cancer Institute, adding modern treatment rooms, latest technology equipment, and improved facilities for treating all types of cancer.

The first stage was completed in January 2009 with medical staff relocated to ten new offices on the first floor to make way for the establishment of specialised treatment rooms for prostate cancer.

Stage two was the construction of a brachytherapy bunker, a CT scan room, control rooms and additional offices in the ground floor area.  It is the only brachytherapy treatment facility in a public hospital in NSW and now makes the Prostate Cancer Institute a one-stop shop for prostate cancer sufferers.  A significant number of men have already benefited from this treatment option.

The third stage has required the former lecture theatre removed from the adjoining Pitney Building and the construction of two floors for a clinical trials unit – an important aspect in finding a cure for prostate cancer and other cancers as well.

The final stage of the project is the largest and will add two more levels to the Cancer care Centre and will benefit all patients from cancer, providing far greater and more private chemotherapy treatment areas, facilities to cope with the expansion of new patients as well as enhancement of all facilities for our psychosocial team including dedicated rooms for support groups and patient education.

By the completion of the entire project more than $9 million will have been contributed by business, community groups, the public and government in what will be one of the most significant facilities of the St George & Sutherland Shire region.


With prostate cancer now the most common internal cancer in Australia, many men will find themselves in the awkward position of seeking a second opinion.

Although a second opinion is the right of every cancer patient, seeking it is not always a comfortable process. It's a vulnerable time for men and they don't want to risk offending the sensitivities of the doctor who may be treating them.

But now there are so many treatment options with so many troubling side effects that making a decision can be harrowing, particularly if the man is still trying to cope with the shock of the diagnosis.

One of the first things to realise is that there is no need to rush into a quick decision. As prostate cancer is generally a slow-growing malignancy, most men can safely spend up to three months learning about the disease, consulting with appropriate specialists and deciding which side effects they can live with.

While any diagnosis of cancer deserves a second opinion, it is pertinent for prostate cancer because the man is probably going to have to live with the consequences of his decision for the next 20 years and "lack of regret" will be very important.

Some men want to leave their treatment decision to their doctor. They believe their doctor knows best and have faith he will act in their best interests. This gives them comfort and they need no other opinion.

Other man can't find peace of mind until they know they've checked all the options and are making an informed decision. For them, there is a steep learning curve and work to be done seeking other views. Arriving at a balanced view might mean getting a third or even fourth opinion.

With prostate cancer, doctors often don't agree on which treatments work best and are more likely to recommend the option that they specialise in. Back in 2000, a now well-known American study of 1000 specialists showed that when presented with a man with early-stage prostate cancer who was expected to live at least 10 years, more than 90 per cent of urologists recommended surgery, while more than 70 per cent of radiation oncologists said radiation would be just as effective as surgery.

John Hopkins University in the United States says if these specialists don't agree, a man could always consult a medical oncologist who specialises in cancer treatment but does not perform surgery or deliver radiation.

Another option is to see a second urologist or radiation oncologist because doctors of the same specialty often have different approaches to treatment. Just as there are different forms of radiation, so there are different ways of removing cancerous prostate tissue.

The university notes that an advantage of seeking a second opinion at a centre that specialises in prostate cancer is that a pathologist will review the biopsy slides. Accurate interpretation of the slides is essential because it forms the basis for treatment decisions.

Sometimes pathologists make mistakes. In one study at John Hopkins, pathologists reviewed biopsy samples of 535 men who were awaiting a radical prostatectomy. They reclassified seven of the men as being cancer free. Further investigation showed six of the seven were indeed free of prostate cancer and their surgery was cancelled.

The university suggests men ask their primary doctor or the urologist who performed the biopsy to refer them for a second opinion, preferably to a colleague affiliated with a different hospital. This is not essential but is prudent because doctors who work at the same institution often share similar views and may be reluctant to contradict one another.

There is also the question of whether a better result could be obtained at a centre that focuses on prostate cancer. The New England Journal of Medicine recently published a study confirming that outcomes for prostate cancer are generally more favourable at high-volume centres.

Second opinion prostate cancer clinics have been popping up all over the US and offer to confirm the diagnosis, discuss treatment options, help men select the best course of action and introduce men to medical experts who can treat them.

While no such clinics are advertised in Australia, some prostate cancer departments in major hospitals provide the service through individual specialists who can then take the case to a meeting of their peers to confirm the best treatment.

Every Thursday afternoon, The Prostate Cancer Institute at Sydney's St George Private Hospital runs a clinic where men can obtain a second opinion from urologists, radiation oncologists and a specialist nurse. Please call (02) 9587 4888 for more information.

Paul Cozzi, a urologist and senior lecturer in surgery at the University of NSW, says men come in from country NSW and other states and spend the afternoon going through treatment options.

Those who consult him are generally seeking an opinion about their suitability for nerve-sparing surgery or a nerve graft to preserve potency.

If their initial biopsy was limited, Cozzi often requires that they be re-biopsied under general anaesthetic so several new tissue samples can be taken.

He recently took part in a study that found that the new biopsy altered the surgical approach in 53 per cent of patients considering a nerve-sparing operation who had limited initial biopsies.


A new study has highlighted the benefit of early screening in combating the spread of prostate cancer. In asymptomatic middle-age and older men, the use of prostate specific antigen (PSA) screening reduces the subsequent chances of developing metastatic prostate cancer, Canadian researchers report in the August issue of the Journal of Urology.

PSA is naturally occurring chemical in the prostate. Prostate conditions such as cancer can cause PSA to leak into the blood stream. PSA screening involves a simple blood test to detect abnormal levels of PSA in the blood. Early detection of prostate cancer through PSA screening offers an increased chance of preventing the spread of prostate cancer to other areas of the body.

For more information on PSA testing, Click here.


Prostate cancer sufferers will benefit from the delivery of new leading edge cryotherapy equipment acquired by the Prostate Cancer Institute, at The St George Hospital.

The Seednet Gold Cryotherapy system, apart from being new, is unique technology utilising ultra-thin 17 gauge technology/third generation allowing physicians to effectively and safely treat patients whilst minimising side-affects.

Professor John Kearsley, Director of the Prostate Cancer Institute, The St George Hospital, said “the Prostate Cancer Institute will be the first centre in Australia to introduce regular cryotherapy treatment for prostate cancer, which makes us the only public institution in Australia capable of providing all treatment options for prostate cancer.

“Today, minimally invasive treatments are in demand. When used in combination with extremely low/sub-zero temperatures and image monitoring, the cryotherapy system is a safe, effective and minimally invasive treatment for prostate cancer.

“We are extremely grateful to both The Cancer Institute of NSW under Professor Jim Bishop and the NSW Government for providing the funding to allow us to purchase this system,” said Professor Kearsley.

The cryotherapy treatment will be provided by Dr Bill Lynch, a urologist at The St George Hospital who said, “the Seednet Gold Cryotherapy system incorporates a familiar brachytherapy set-up utilising an insertion template mounted on a stepping device. Tedious free-hand insertion of needles is eliminated.

The Cryoneedles generate precision Ice-balls that join together, providing surgeons with the ability to accurately freeze a specific region to the desired size and shape of the tumour or cancerous tissue. Cryoneedle placement is optimised with an imaged grid that corresponds to the template insertion grid. This can be viewed in real time using ultrasound imaging.”

“The main benefits of the new system are it is simple to perform, it is a minimally invasive procedure, patients are discharged from the hospital in 24-48 hours, the procedure is demonstrated to have minimal blood loss, there are very low incidences of co-morbidities, it has excellent clinical results and there is minimal trauma,” concluded Dr Lynch.

Dr Paul Cozzi, Senior lecturer in Surgery and Urologist said that the addition of cryotherapy to the current treatments available at the Prostate Cancer Institute will allow men to choose from all of the best, modern and most effective treatment options currently available.

Dr Cozzi said “the multidisciplinary nature of care, which is unique to the Prostate Cancer Institute at St George Hospital offers comprehensive care, individualised to the patients' needs and circumstances. Dr Lynch and I were involved in the earliest research into the use of cryotherapy in Australia and it is very exciting to now have the latest technology available for our patients. Congratulations to Professor Kearsley, Dr Lynch and the whole hardworking PCI team for acquiring this new and innovative treatment!”

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in Australian men after skin cancer, and the second highest cause of male cancer deaths. Every year 10,000 new cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed in Australian men, but many cases do not develop into terminal cases of cancer. If prostate cancer is detected and treated while still confined to the prostate gland it is potentially curable.

NSW Government supports the Prostate Cancer Institute 29 April 2005

The NSW Government announced on Friday 29 April that they have agreed to provide $200,000 towards the operation of the Prostate Cancer Institute and a further $98,000 of recurrent funding from the Cancer Institute towards the purchase of prostate brachytherapy seeds and a contribution towards a medical physicist staff member.

The announcement was made at the Prostate Cancer Institute Celebration Ball at the Mercure Sydney Airport Hotel by Kevin Greene, MP, Member for Georges River, who represented the Minister for Health, Hon Morris Iemma.

Mr. Greene praised the work of the Prostate Cancer Institute Fundraising Committee and the excellent work undertaken by the St. George Cancer Care Centre under the guidance of Professor John Kearsley to create the first of its kind – a Prostate Cancer Institute in Australia.

Mr. Greene said “Over the past 13 years, the Division of Cancer Services at the St George Hospital has built up an enviable national reputation for its high-tech treatments and personal holistic care of cancer patients and their families.

The Prostate Cancer Institute is an extension of this service and was opened in September 2002. The Institute is a high quality treatment centre that provides patients and their family the absolute best management and care. The Institute's aim is to offer a full range of treatment options and conduct new research into the area.

The Prostate Cancer Institute is currently the only centre in Australia where men can receive advanced multi-faceted treatment for prostate cancer.

Prostate cancer is as big a health issue for men in Australia as breast cancer is for women – and the most significant major malignancy of men in the St. George area and Sutherland Shire. Furthermore, specialists cancer centres are seeing increasingly younger patients.

Mr. Greene said “The NSW Government would like to take this opportunity to thank the members of the Prostate Cancer Institute Fundraising Committee headed by chairman John Green and supported by other prominent members of the local community who have committed their time and enthusiasm to this worthwhile project.”

Through the efforts of a high profile fundraising committee, funds have already been raised for the purchase of cancer-related equipment and for research into, and education programs on, prostate cancer. The current funding will be utilised to expand the cancer care centre and to ensure that the Prostate Cancer Institute can operate to its maximum potential.


The Premier of NSW, Mr. Bob Carr said “By 2011 prostate cancer will become the most common cancer in NSW and one of the biggest threats to men over the age of 50.”

Best estimates suggest that by 2011 almost 6,800 otherwise healthy men will be diagnosed with this debilitating disease each year.

“If we don't do something now to improve screening and develop new treatments more than 1,630 of them will die.

“This is up from the 4,000 who contracted the disease and the 965 who died in 2002.

“Within the next six years nearly one in three men will fall victim to prostate cancer.

“By the end of the decade nearly everyone will have a father, brother, son or friend who has been diagnosed or died from prostate cancer, “ Mr Carr said.

The huge increase in the incidence of prostate cancer is linked to ageing population and early detection.

In 2003, 29 percent or 955,000 of the NSW male population was aged over 50, by 2011 this will increase to 32 percent or 1,151,000 over the age of 50.

Real Time Dosimentry System to be trailed in six months at the PCI

>Article from St. George Sutherland Shire Leader April 2005

A major breakthrough in prostate cancer treatment is set to emerge from St. George Hospital’s Prostate Cancer Institute and the University of Wollongong.

A prototype of a real time dosimetry system, to be used with a treatment called seed brachytherapy, is due for clinical trials in about six months.

Seed brachytherapy involves the insertion of about 90 radioactive seeds into the prostate gland which give off radiation to kill the cancer.

The invention – developed with Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Centre, New York – will enable the dose of radiation in the prostate to be measured at the time the seeds are inserted.

Currently, the amount of radiation emitted in the cancer can only be measured post-operatively and careful planning is the only way to gauge where the seeds must be inserted.

The seeds emit radiation for six to nine months but remain in the prostate permanently.

The inventors of the real time dosimentry system, physics professor Anatoly Rozenfeld, radiation oncologist Joe Bucci and PhD student Dean Cutjar, started on the project in 2001 and have since received research funding to supports its development.

Dr Bucci said “It will hopefully eliminate the need for follow-up procedures”.

The Director of the Prostate Cancer Institute, Professor John Kearsley said the invention would earn the Centre scientific credibility. Professor Kearsley said “There is very little research into prostate cancer and St. George Hospital is setting itself up as the leader.”

Seed brachytherapy was minimally invasive alternative to surgery and external radiation and its long term results were comparable to surgery. Although treatment is widely used, the Prostate Cancer Institute is one of only a few centres to offer it to public patients.