Patient stories / 22 Jan, 2020

Accessing cancer treatment in the country

Icon Writers

Alec shares his experience as one of the first people in Midland to receive advanced radiation therapy treatment for prostate cancer

Cunderdin, a country town located two hours from Perth, has been 72-year-old Alec Fissioli’s home for over 50 years. It’s the place he raised his children, and where he worked at the WA College of Agriculture-Cunderdin for 46 years before retiring in 2015.

When Alec was first diagnosed with prostate cancer after his yearly blood test came back with a PSA reading of 7, it was important to him that he could stay close to home throughout his treatment.

“An MRI found three very minute specks of tumours in the prostate. It was very very early, so I decided to act quickly and get treatment straight away. I had no idea I had cancer, it wasn’t affecting me at all,” Alec said.

As the tumours in Alec’s prostate were very small, he was able to receive stereotactic radiation therapy treatment at Icon Cancer Centre Midland, an advanced technique which delivers precision radiation to the prostate and minimises the radiation dose to surrounding healthy organs and tissue.

Alec was one of the first patients in Western Australia to receive this new treatment technique on a linear accelerator and had five sessions of radiation on his prostate completed in less than two weeks. Accessing this shorter course radiation therapy saved Alec more than 9 400kms in travel and meant he could stay in the comfort of his own home, rather than in other accommodation options.

“Living out in the country, having to travel to Perth for five weeks of treatment would have been quite a challenge. My two daughters would’ve had to have transported me around all the time, that would’ve been very difficult. Five treatments has been really easy, it’s just an hour and a half drive into Midland which was most convenient for me.”

From helping out with his brother’s businesses to looking after his four acre property and building a hot rod, Alec enjoys keeping himself busy during his retirement. Thanks to his short course stereotactic radiation therapy treatment and the support from Icon Midland, he says things haven’t changed at all.

“Honestly, very little has been difficult for me throughout this process, everything has been very straightforward with no stress. I hope everyone gets looked after like I have.”

For Alec, finishing treatment quickly also means that he has more time to focus on the things that matter most.

“I have two wonderful daughters and four grandchildren, who have been involved throughout all of the treatment. I’m very lucky to have all my family around, they look after me.”

With prostate cancer the most common cancer diagnosed in Western Australian men, Alec urges men to take control of their health – as without his regular PSA test, things could’ve turned out very differently.

“Some blokes have no idea about prostate cancer. If you can prevent people from going through it, that can change lives. I’m not going to waste time putting it off or any of that silly stuff.”

“Get in early – it’s important, it’s your health.”

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