Speech given by the Governor at a reception for the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia 25th Anniversary.
First, I acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land upon which we are gathering and pay my respects to their Elders past and present and to any Elders with us this evening.
I am delighted to welcome you all to Government House to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Prostate Cancer Foundation Australia, and in particular its invaluable contribution to the people of Victoria.
It is no surprise that Tony joins me in strong support for this patronage organisation. The figures speak for themselves. He is disappointed that he cannot join us this evening.
Now I acknowledge that cancer does not recognise State borders but I am sure you will forgive me, as the Governor of Victoria, for focusing this evening on the impact of prostate cancer in this State.
It is the most common cancer in Victoria, it represents a massive 17% of all cancers here.
Each year in Victoria, there are over 6,000 new diagnoses of the disease, and in 2019, 832 lives were lost to it.
But these figures need to be viewed in the context of what the Prostate Cancer Foundation has achieved, and then we can appreciate that there is cause for optimism – and gratitude.
In the last 30 years, the five year survival rate after diagnosis has climbed from 58% to 95%.
The people in this room can feel proud.
You have contributed to those significant changes by promoting and funding research, and by implementing campaigns and education programs to raise awareness.
You have also ensured support for the men diagnosed, and their families, with access to the latest evidence-based information and resources, and connection to support groups.
Your advocacy means that many men with prostate cancer in Victoria and Australia need not be alone when they navigate the impacts of the disease and what a diagnosis might mean for them and their families.
That leaves me only to say thank you.
Thank you to everyone involved at Prostate Cancer Foundation Australia for all that you do. Thank you to National Chairman Professor Stephen Callister and all those who contribute at the national level.
Of course, we can be particularly grateful to Mr Geoff Underwood for his work and the work of his Board in Victoria and Tasmania, and to the wonderful staff.
Finally, a warm thanks to the volunteers, supporters, philanthropists and donors. A particular thank you to the Charity Boys, many of whom are here today, and to the McPherson family, represented by Gaye McPherson.
Congratulations to everyone involved across the last 25 years which I have no doubt – given the commitment shared between you all – will just be your FIRST 25 years.
We hope you enjoy your time here at Government House.