Jill's cover image
Jill

Jill MARGO AM

Year of Award: 2011 Award State: New South Wales Health And Medicine > General
The Bob and June Prickett Churchill Fellowship to study sexual rehabilitation following treatment for prostate cancer - USA, Israel, Germany, UK
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About 20,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year in this country. More than 90 per cent are still alive five years later, and the majority of these live far beyond this. But many struggle with other problems, including potency.

‘Man survives earthquakes, epidemics, the horror of disease, and all the agonies of the soul, but for all time his most tormenting tragedy has been, is, and will be the tragedy of the bedroom.’ Leo Tolstoy’s words resonate with the large numbers of Australian men who suffer the aftermaths of prostate cancer surgery, but advances are now being made in this area. Jill Margo AM wanted to find out about them.

Jill Margo is a leading journalist specialising in men’s health. She edits the men’s health section of the Financial Review, writing a weekly column for it and imparting useful information in her inimitable down-to-earth yet sensitive tone. Jill Margo has won 18 awards, including two Walkley Awards for her writing. 

When awarded a Bob Prickett Churchill Fellowship in 2011, Jill travelled to England, the United States, Germany and Israel to research the best that the world offers in prostate cancer rehabilitation, investigating state-of-the-art methods for rehabilitation of potency for those who undergo surgery for prostate cancer.

For many men who undergo surgery for prostate cancer, the post-operative situation can prove difficult to endure with equanimity. When the prostate is being dissected out of the body, even in highly skilled hands, some of the fine blood vessels that supply the tiny nerves can be disrupted or damaged and a man’s sex life will be changed. When Jill saw Professor Kirby of the Prostate Centre, London, he put it like this: ‘the nerves sulk for about eighteen months’. Some take as much as four years to get over the trauma. Professor Kirby told her, in words echoing the determination expressed by Winston Churchill in a different battle, words which must have given hope to many a man: ‘This clinic never gives up.’

Jill gathered evidence from some of the best relevant clinics and hospitals in the world because other countries were doing more than Australia was doing in this area at that time.

Jill is now collaborating with the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia and writing a monograph so that all available information on treatment and other aspects of this very common condition can be found in one convenient place. Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men, after skin cancer. In Australia, 32 men a day are diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Excerpt from “Inspiring Australians” written by Penny Hanley (2015)

Awards and Honours
  • 2006 awarded Member of the Order of Australia for service to journalism and to the community, particularly through reporting, promoting and raising awareness of men's health issues, and as a contributor to a range of cancer support organisations.
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