10 April 2015

Late Dr Ian Roos OAM

The prostate cancer fraternity and the Australian community who have been touched by all cancers mourn the passing today of Dr Ian Roos OAM. Ian died this morning after a long battle with prostate cancer.

Ian was a scholar, scientist, administrator, educator, guide, philosopher and friend. His work as a consumer representative, patient advocate and policy advisor, since his diagnosis with an aggressive prostate cancer 16 years ago, set him apart. At a COSA conference Ian is quoted as saying: "the cancer patient can share the experience, not the cancer. Yet it is now part of their being. It is not their partner's cancer, but it affects their partner. It is not their family's cancer, but it affects their family. It is not their friends' cancer, yet their friends grieve for the challenge to longevity that it presents. It is the patient’s and the patient is the one who has to negotiate meaning from it and an identity that incorporates it".

Ian was a great friend and supporter of PCFA over many years. He assisted with unique contributions to our resources as a scientist and an advanced prostate cancer patient, including as a member of the Research Advisory Committee, various Movember projects on our behalf, PSA testing guidelines expert panel and the Advanced Prostate Cancer Guidelines expert panel.

As a consumer advocate for cancer sufferers other than the prostate, which also has great relevance for prostate cancer, Ian had an intimate involvement with many institutions, including being State Chair of National Cancer Advocacy Organisations and member of numerous advisory panels and consumer groups. Ian was the founding President of Cancer Voices Victoria, an advocacy group for those affected by cancer and has been Chair of Cancer Voices Australia, now CanSpeak Australia. He was a volunteer with Cancer Connect. Ian served on a number of government bodies that address different aspects of cancer such as Victorian Ministerial Task Force on Cancer, North Eastern Metropolitan Integrated Cancer Service, CanNet Victoria and the National Cancer Nursing Education Project, National Research Advisory Group of Cancer Australia, the Radiation Oncology Working Group, the Council of the Clinical Oncology Society of Australia (COSA) and was a director of the Trans Tasman Radiation Oncology Group (TROG).

With his wisdom regarding 'outcomes' for patients he suggested that the treating medical professionals needed to 'see more than a medical term or statistic' when dealing with the patient as the 'patient lives with "outcomes" every day'. He asked that they 'manage the complexity of treatments' and 'make the patient the centre of treatment'. Ian asked that the professional learn 'who we are, about our lifestyle, our relationships and make treatment meaningful'. There's a need to make the decisions consistent with diagnosis.

He also asked that the medical professional 'respect our intelligence; treat the patient with dignity and make the family carers and loved ones included in our care'.

He voiced the opinion that consumers have the right to know why they are having the treatment offered and to educate and help the consumer, his partner, family and loved ones to better understand the disease and the consequences of treatment.

Dr Roos will be greatly missed.