So, it is little surprise, he faced his own diagnosis and treatment for prostate cancer with positivity and light-heartedness.
“I think I managed to give the (Icon Cancer Centre Holmesglen) team a few laughs throughout my treatment,” says Fr Burke.
Fr Burke was diagnosed with prostate cancer last year after ten years of passive monitoring, following a rise in his PSA levels.
He chose to undergo radiation therapy and was referred to Icon Holmesglen to undergo 39 sessions from June to August this year under the care of Radiation Oncologist, A/Prof Shankar Siva.
During his treatment at Icon Holmesglen, Fr Burke wrote to numerous newspapers to spread the word about the good work of the team. The following excerpt was published in the Letters to the Editor section in The Australian newspaper:
I’m a privileged participant in radiation therapy at Icon Cancer Centre at Moorabbin Holmesglen in Melbourne. The team of secretaries, nurses, radiation therapists and oncologists are so professional and caring, a gold medal performance. As I said to fellow participant Phil, “I can honestly say I’m enjoying coming here”.
Last week I said to them: “PB today, in and out in 15 minutes.’’ I’m looking forward to my last day in three weeks when they ring a bell and the whole team applauds … a lovely touch. These delightful people are making me more radiant by the day.
Fr Burke did mark the end of his treatment by ringing the bell, surrounded by Icon staff and two former patients he’d met in the waiting room while having his daily radiation therapy treatment.
“The people at Icon have made it all very easy,” says Fr Burke.
“I like to give credit where credit is due.”
Fr Burke will celebrate his 80th birthday in November abroad.
In September he will travel to Greece to board the first of three cruise ships to take on the role of cruise chaplain.
Find out how to become a patient at Icon Cancer Centre, or request more information from your nearest centre.
Icon brings together some of Australia’s most experienced medical oncologists, radiation oncologists and haematologists.
At Icon, care is more than just a word. Our cancer care team are here to support you with compassion, knowledge and hope.
Our patients share their perspective and advice.