Telehealth service providers are seeing more men in regional Queenland taking care of their health. Photo: file
Telehealth service providers are seeing more men in regional Queenland taking care of their health. Photo: file

How a quick phone call saved the life of a CQ mine worker

AN EMERALD mine worker was diagnosed with aggressive prostate cancer after being prompted to get tested by a telehealth platform.

Steve Garlick, 61, had no symptoms of prostate cancer before he was diagnosed earlier this year.

He was working at Oakey Creek Coal Mine in August, 2019, when Man Up visited to speak to the workers about looking after their health and highlighted the telehealth platform Maxwell Plus.

“I was also a FIFO worker at a mine in Indonesia so it wasn’t easy for me to stay on top of my health until I realised telehealth made it simple,” he said.

Maxwell Plus uses artificial intelligence to read data from past blood tests and understand risks from your family medical history.

Steve Garlick.
Steve Garlick.

“In September I had a blood test on the recommendation of Maxwell Plus, and was told I needed another in October and another in January and I was found to be showing signs of mild cancer and that I should have a biopsy,” he said.

“I had the biopsy in February and I was diagnosed with aggressive prostate cancer.”

He had his prostate removed in April and has been cancer free for the past two tests.

“I had no symptoms of prostate cancer and often you don’t which is why it is so important to be proactive when it comes to your health,” he said.

Founder of Maxwell Plus, Dr Elliot Smith, said telehealth providers were seeing a rise in the number of men living in regional and remote areas taking a proactive approach to their health and checking for prostate cancer.

“Men in these areas have a 21 per cent higher mortality rate than men in capital cities and for every 100 men in Australian cities who die from prostate cancer, in rural and regional Australia that number jumps to 121,” he said.

“Males should look at their risk factors like family history and talk to their doctor about testing from the age of 50 as early detection can increase the chance of survival to 98 per cent.”

Dr Smith said prostate cancer was the most common cancer diagnosed in Australian men, claiming nearly 3500 lives last year, more than breast cancer, because of late diagnosis.

“If men are detected at stage one, when the cancer is a single lump or isolated lesion, the five year survival rate is 98 per cent,” he said.

“If you’re caught later than stage two, that survival rate drops to about 26 per cent.

“Ultimately, what we’re aiming to achieve is that every man that ends up with prostate cancer is diagnosed early enough that all options are in front of him, and that men don’t need to go through unnecessary testing.”