FIGHTING FIT: Warwick man Don Warrener was diagnosed with prostate cancer two and a half years ago.
FIGHTING FIT: Warwick man Don Warrener was diagnosed with prostate cancer two and a half years ago. Elyse Wurm

Cancer diagnosis 'like getting hit with a sledgehammer'

DON Warrener had just bought a caravan and was ready to travel around Australia when he received a shock diagnosis that would not only put his retirement plans on hold, but also his entire life.

In December 2015, he was getting a routine health check-up when the doctor revealed he had prostate cancer.

Mr Warrener had no symptoms, but the aggressive cancer would go on to rob him of feeling in parts of his legs and send him into male menopause.

"It was like getting hit in the head with a sledgehammer," he said.

"You never think it's going to happen to you."

Removing the cancer wasn't an option because of Mr Warrener's age, so instead he endured six rounds of chemotherapy, radiation therapy and hormone treatment, which reduced the levels of testosterone in his body.

Mr Warrener had retired as WIRAC manager after eight years but was still delivering the Warwick Daily News and doing the school bus run for Freestone State School.

"It made me stop that, you don't know when you're going to feel well," he said.

"The chemotherapy was the worst, it killed all the nerves in my feet and I have dead parts in my legs."

Mr Warrener said he had three blood tests in the 18 months leading up to his diagnosis, but the prostate cancer check wasn't routinely included.

"It would be good if it was automatically included for over 50s," he said.

"The early you bet it the better it is because it's easier to treat."

Mr Warrener will continue hormone therapy for the rest of his life to keep the cancer at bay, which prevents the cancer from growing by feeding off testosterone.

He said the treatment doesn't have many negative side effects apart from the occasional hot sweat.

Now part of the Third Age Golfers in Warwick, a group of prostate cancer survivors, Mr Warrener said it was important to talk to other people about all types of cancer even if it may seem embarrassing.

"You can't sit at home and bottle it up, there is help out there," he said.

Mr Warrener completed his 40-session radiation therapy treatments at St Andrew's Hospital in Toowoomba, and next weekend will take part in a charity golf day to help support the oncology unit at the hospital.

Taking place on April 29 at 11.30am for a shot gun start, the competition will be a two-ball ambrose with prizes for the best men's, women's and mixed teams.

To take part in the day, phone Warwick Golf Club on 46613664.



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