PROSTATE cancer survivor Len Lamprecht has made it his mission to pass on some of the hard lessons he learned after being diagnosed 12 years ago.
The nature of prostate cancer and the nature of men is such that many who are diagnosed struggle to talk about it - even with their nearest and dearest.
Mr Lamprecht's own battle convinced him to start the first Ipswich Prostate Cancer Support Group in April 2004. Since then the group has helped hundreds of men open up about their health and breathe a great sigh of relief in the process.
Now in its 10th year, the support group has 316 members - the vast majority of whom are just starting their cancer fight.
"Nothing is taboo in our support group," Mr Lamprecht said.
"Wives can come along too. In fact we encourage them to come because men often struggle to relay the information they've received at the meetings back to their loved ones at home.
"This is something that I just can't let go of - I've got to be there to try to get all the information out to members."
Well-known Ipswich urologists Dr Hee Soo Teng and Dr Wesley Hii are patrons of the Ipswich support group.
Convenor Terry Carter said many of the men that came to the meetings for the first time were in a state of distress, but being able to talk to others in the same situation was of great benefit.
"We often see positive change after one meeting," Mr Carter said.
"They could show up here in tears but leave with a new perspective."
Prostate cancer accounts for about 30% of cancers diagnosed each year in Australian men.
The Ipswich Prostate Cancer Support Group meets on the third Thursday of each month, 7.30-9.30pm, at the Humanities Building, 56 South St. For more information, phone 3281 3656 or 3281 2894, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.