After a successful launch earlier this year, the Prince George Prostate Cancer Support Group is looking to expand.
Between seven and 10 people attended the first two meetings and facilitator Cliff Murphy hopes in time that number will triple. Many of the initial group members are men who were diagnosed and treated years ago and Murphy would like to see more recently diagnosed patients come out to the meetings, share their experiences and ask questions.
"The people that are out there suffering in silence, those are the ones we really want to get," Murphy said.
After an initial planning meeting in January, the group had its first guest speaker attend its February event when urologist Dr. Darby Cassidy made a presentation and answered questions.
"The first time I was nervous, of course," Murphy said of his role leading the meetings. "The second meeting we had a guest speaker and he gave a good presentation."
The group has already lined up radiation oncologist Dr. Stacy Miller to speak at its April meeting.
Murphy would like to have more guest speakers at future meetings, but the topics will come out of the discussions the group members have in the coming months.
"If they have burning questions that we don't have answers for, we'll try to find someone who will come in and talk to them about it," he said.
Murphy recently traveled to Vancouver to see first hand how some established groups in the Lower Mainland conduct their meetings. He liked the idea of having a formal portion with a guest speaker but also more of a free-for-all where people talked about their experiences.
"Everyone formed a really ragged circle and someone would say, who's had this particular procedure and someone would put their hand up and then a discussion would start," Murphy said.
With a wide variety of patient experiences, Murphy said there's a lot the men can learn from one another.
The group is open to men who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer as well as their wives and partners and some women have come to the first two events. If the group proves popular with women, Murphy said specific programming could be arranged to answer their concerns as well.
Meetings are held in the evening of the last Wednesday of every month. The March get together will be the group's first social meeting and Murphy hopes to make the informal gatherings a regular feature.
More information is available by visiting www.pgpcsg.org or by contacting Murphy at 250-562-2825.