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Hope for men with advanced prostate cancer after Australian treatment trials

Bernard Lefers is from Nouméa, the capital of New Caledonia, and has prostate cancer. About 1.3 million men are diagnosed with the disease worldwide each year.  He is currently doing well after taking part in a trial at St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney, which uses a new treatment class. “I’m feeling good, excellent. I can do everything I want,” the 61-year-old said. “I can go swimming, go hunting and go fishing. “The treatment is not hard. Chemotherapy is tough, a tough treatment. It makes you very tired.”

Bernard Lefers thanks his doctor, Professor Louise Emmett in Sydney.

Bernard Levers with his doctor, Professor Louise Emmett, in Sydney.

SBS Sandra Fulloon

Prostate cancer remains the second most diagnosed cancer in Australian men and kills more than 3,200 every year. Bernard was one of 56 men who took part in the LuPIN trial, which uses two new drugs in combination. His doctor and trial supervisor, Professor Louise Emmett, says Bernard responded to the medicines excellently, with a marked reduction in tumors.

“This trial is part of a series using a new group of drugs which is offering real hope for men with prostate cancer,” she said.  “When Bernard first presented to us, he was very short of breath, very symptomatic with late-stage prostate cancer. With each treatment, his symptoms progressively improved.”

Bernard with his wife Pascale in Nouméa.

Bernard with his wife Pascale in Nouméa.

Bernard is a retired police officer and was first diagnosed in August 2015. Cancer later spread to his bones and lungs. His treatment in Australia was subsidized by a French government organization.

“Bernard had already failed at least two lines of chemotherapy and all other available treatments. So this was really the last option left available to him,” Professor Emmett said.

But when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Bernard was forced to stop the trial and return to Nouméa. His tumors later returned. After being granted a medical exemption, he has now been able to return to Sydney for ongoing medical treatment unavailable in New Caledonia.

“I am determined to continue. It’s not the end for me; I want to fight, you know?” he said.

Molly Aronson

Molly Aronson is a 26-year-old government politician who enjoys bowling, running and jigsaw puzzles. She is creative and exciting, but can also be very greedy and a bit greedy.She is an australian Christian who defines herself as straight. She has a post-graduate degree in philosophy, politics and economics. She is allergic to grasshoppers.

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