Men's Shed at Peter Mac

Treating the disease is one aspect of cancer care. The Peter Mac Men’s Shed is the first shed in a Victorian hospital offering our patients, carers and their families an opportunity to meet others undergoing, or caring for someone receiving medical treatment.

The Peter Mac Men’s Shed aims to reduce social isolation, improve wellbeing and provide an environment where experiences can be shared.

Wednesdays in the Melbourne Men's Shed

Our shed at Peter Mac (Parkville) is still housing the hospital's COVID-19 PPE but we have made arrangements to still offer you a shed experience at the Melbourne Men's Shed at Federation Square.

Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Melbourne Men's Shed is closed until further notice.

Once restriction ease, the Melbourne Men's Shed at Federation Square will be open to all Peter Mac patients, carers, family and friends between 10am - 2:30pm every Wednesday. Please contact Daisy Cramer if you would like to attend. Transport can be organised for you from Peter Mac.

First Excursion to Melbourne Men's Shed

Our first excursion to the Melbourne Men’s Shed took place on Tuesday 4 May 2021 and was a roaring success! Read all about it here

What are we currently working on?

Currently, John and our Men's Shed members are working on our first project to design, engineer and construct a mobile workbench to allow for our shed to roam the hospital corridors and pop up in a clinic waiting room or hospital garden near you!  You are invited to contribute to this project or bring your own project to work on in the shed.

Monthly guest speakers

The 'Men's Shed presents...' Series!

Each month our Men's Shed presents a guest speaker who facilitates different topics of discussion. These sessions happen via Zoom to ensure our men and women from all across the state can access this information and support online. 

These sessions essentially give our patients, their carers, friends and family an opportunity to:

  • Hear from guest speakers and learn from our experts,
  • Learn about what's coming up at in the Peter Mac Men's Shed,
  • Meet and connect with other people going through similar cancer experiences,
  • Share information, experiences and interests, and seek support or referrals to services and programs if needed.

Access the event page with details about our next meeting

Please click here to register for the 'Men's Shed presents...' session and to receive the Zoom login details.

Key Contacts

John Howarth, Men's Shed Project Officer

Daisy Cramer, Project Officer, Prevention and Wellbeing

The Men's Shed presents

For Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, Peter Mac experts and specialist GP Jane Crowe joined us to discuss all things Prostate Cancer.

They covered signs and symptoms, treatments, mental health and we heard from men with a lived experience.

These are things every man should know.

Click here to watch the webinar

Here are some resources that were mentioned during the webinar:


Peter Mac collaborates with Inner Melbourne Community Legal (IMCL) to deliver a Health Justice Partnership. IMCL provides a free legal service to Peter Mac patients and carers, bringing about better outcomes. Click here to access a recording of Molly's presentation.

We know that people are almost twice as likely to ask a health and welfare professional for legal advice as they are to speak with a lawyer. Legal issues are often at the root of someone’s health, financial or social problem and they can make those problems worse.

The weekly Legal Clinic runs at Peter Mac Parkville's campus on Thursday mornings in the Social Work rooms on level 2. Patients recieving care at other Peter Mac campuses can access the service via phone.

To make an appointment you can speak to your social worker, go direct to their website or call 9013 0495.

This month we had the fantastic Jenelle Loeliger- Head of Nutrition & Speech Pathology Department present to our group. Click here to access a recording of the session.

Jenelle discussed the various nutrition issues experienced by people with cancer and the many ways that dieticians can support people along their cancer journey. Jenelle took us through the CanEAT pathway and her team’s plan to improve this pathway and develop a plethora of new resources for cancer patients and their families. For more Info on the CanEAT pathway click here CanEat Pathway

For Peter Mac patients wanting to be linked in with a dietician please speak to your treating team for a referral. 

Couldn’t make it? To watch the Carer’s Couch presentation please click here 

Are you or someone you know caring for a loved one with cancer? Have you ever wondered…. Where can carers access support services?
Carers Couch is a nurturing community and place to find tailored support. Carers Couch empowers family and friends of people with cancer to:

- Connect and create a support crew that will walk through the journey with you
- Discover the services/therapies available to the carer and access qualified experts suited to your needs
- Organise your day-to-day schedules to better self-care and care-assist those impacted by cancer.

If you are interested in finding out more about the services available through Carer’s Couch please complete this Carers Couch – Self Referral Form

Also, during this session, Alex from took us through the importance of practicing self-care and how relaxation and meditation practices can simply be thought of as ‘spending time with one’s self’. We thank Alex and Martina for their time!

To watch Ronnas presentation please click here 

"Cancer is rough. Cancer investigations and treatments are incredibly brutal. All this can lead to us seeing our bodies purely as a source of pain, of disease and of disappointment. We often store grief and trauma in the body, and this can show itself as pain with no obvious cause.

There are many benefits to Oncology Massage. It can relieve the pain often associated with surgery, chemotherapy, or radiotherapy. It can help with lymphoedema. It can nourish you emotionally, as your body is no longer purely a source of sadness. It helps us release grief and trauma, and work through them and their associated pain. It helps us recover from treatments, or if we’re doing an exercise program with an exercise physiologist or physiotherapist (and let’s be honest, all us cancer patients should be doing something along those lines). And - certainly not least -it’s something nice to look forward to!

For me, OM has at times made the difference to whether or not I could walk easily. I can’t tell you how much it’s helped with pain management and overall fatigue. It helps me feel like my body isn’t a complete let-down and that I can still get some pleasure from it. It also helps me enormously with my exercise program - I find stretching difficult at times, and a little bit of “meat tenderising” goes a long way. It’s definitely helped my mental health - I feel less anxious and depressed; also I firmly believe that as well as improving my quality of life, it’s increased the amount of time I have left. As far as I’m concerned, OM is value for money, no argument. Just don’t take all the appointment slots!

So why Oncology Massage specifically? Oncology Massage Therapists (OMTs) are specialist Massage Therapists (MTs). They have a higher level of required knowledge of anatomy, particularly the lymphatic system, of how cancer develops, of how to position patients with CVADs, and so much more than an ordinary MT, much less a worker at one of those shopping centre “massage centres”! OMTs place a high importance on communicating with their patients, so they won’t do anything that causes discomfort, pain, or even just embarrassment. Also, there’s no evidence that massage hastens metastatic spread, so you can be satisfied that treatment from a qualified OMT is safe." - Oncology Massage recipient 

Things you need to do before having your massage:

  1. Consult your oncologist/s
  2. If you’re being treated away from your cancer centre, get a letter from your oncologist/s with your diagnosis and treatment plan, as well as clearance to be massaged
  3. Always discuss your primary, your secondary diagnosis, and any surgery or implanted devices you have or have had, with your OMT If you need more information, you can find it here 

To book a massage with Ronna in our Wellbeing Centre (Ronna may also be able to visit you on the ward) please click here or email [email protected]

Ronna will assess information about your illness, the treatments (surgery, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, or radiotherapy) you have had or are having, any medications you regularly take and your current health. Ronna will also wish to know the reasons you are seeking massage therapy and your expectations about how it may support you. This information will guide the plan for your massage, and any necessary modifications, such as the location on your body, the pressure applied, and the duration of the session.

To find an Oncology Massage service in your community please click here

To access a recording of Oliver's presentation and the discussion around the fear of cancer recurrence or progression please click here.

Oliver acknowledged so many fears that can contribute to these anxieties and highlighted so many important strategies. It is really worth a look if you were unable to join the conversation. 

I have added Olivers slides to the resources at the bottom of this page.

To watch the presentation about all the free services available through the Cancer Council Victoria and also listen to John talk about the Reel Recovery retreat that hes running on the 30th of April please click here.

Cancer Council Victoria (CCV) supports and services

Briony from Cancer Council Victoria spoke to us about what CCV achieves as an organisation but more specifically, these services that are available to each and every one of you.

Did you know Cancer Council Victoria provides the following services:

  • 13 11 20 The Support Line is staffed by experienced cancer nurses Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm or email [email protected]
  • 13 14 50 An Interpreter service is also available to support people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds
  • Cancer Council Victoria connects people with over 120  different support groups across the state, and they all cater for different kinds of people
  • Cancer Connect is a oneon-one peer support program that matches patients with a trained volunteer who has been through the same or similar cancer and treatment, of similar age, life-style and family circumstances.
    • Family connect – for carers
    • Gene Connect - for people who’ve discovered they have a higher likelihood of developing cancer due to their genetic makeup.
    • Trial Connect - connects people who are considering participation in a clinical trial with a trained volunteer who has been through at least one clinical trial.
  • Victorian Cancer Trials Link, can assist people in searching for available clinical trials across Victoria (including rural and regional trials) and provide a source of general information about clinical trials.
    • Other resources include a suite of videos, which detail the experiences and advice of four people who have previously participated in a clinical trial.
  • Cancer Education Programs (CEP) are group based supportive care and education programs developed for those affected by cancer, their carers, families and friends. The programs run through hospitals all over the state and provide information, education, practical strategies and the opportunity for participants to connect with others affected by cancer. 
  • The Holiday Break Program provides families with a short break away at no cost so they can share quality time with loved ones, away from the hectic schedule of appointments and cancer treatments. You can also donate the use of your holiday home to this program.
  • Cancer Council Victoria offers a free wig service for men and women experiencing cancerrelated hair loss.
  • Their financial counselling program provides people affected by cancer with access to a financial counsellor who can provide practical advice and guidance to help manage the cost of cancer. They act as a confidential, independent advocate and coach, to empower people through information, so they can make informed decisions about their health and longterm financial security.
  • Four pro bono programs are available for those experiencing financial hardship as the result of their cancer diagnosis:
    • Legal referral service
    • Financial planning referral service
    • Workplace advice service
    • Small business advice service
  • Cancer Council has more than 100 booklets and fact sheets available free to anyone impacted by cancer. The cancer information is developed for patients, carers, health professionals, workplaces, schools and community groups. Many are translated into more than 28 languages and some are provided in plain or easy English for differing levels of education.
    • Plain English is the English that is used in good writing and clear communication. It is the level of English fluency that should be achieved by the time people start high school.
    • Easy English concentrates on key points, uses simple (or one-clause) sentences, has minimal punctuation and illustrates each point.
  • Cancer Council has created a Cancer Services Guide that lists many services available to Victorians affected by cancer. The guide contains 472 services across three main sections:
    • Health services and information
    • Practical support
    • Health and wellbeing

Reel Recovery retreat

John spoke to us about a great fly fishing retreat he is running at the end of April. Mending Casts is a non-profit organisation which promotes the health and well-being benefits of Fly Fishing and Fly Casting to people dealing with cancer. They are running a weekend retreat in Omeo, from 30th April – 2nd May April called ‘Reel Recovery’. Though only a few days in duration, a Reel Recovery retreat can be a life-changing event for men living with cancer. The program blends outdoor activity with directed conversations to create a unique environment conducive to relaxed, open interactions and this weekend will be the first time the program has been run outside of the USA and NZ! Please see the flier attached for more details, space is limited so please contact John via [email protected] ASAP if you are interested.

Click here to access Prues presentation - Excerise Medicine 

We heard from the CEO of Healthy Male, Simon von Saldern.  Here is the link to Simons presentation about Spanner in the Works.

Information following our discussion

A big thank you to Professor Declan Murphy for his time. We’ve recorded Declan’s talk - Click here to listen. For those interested in listening to more of what Declan has to say about the world of Genitourinary Oncology and Urology you can find his podcast here.

In response to some of your questions, here’s some information you might find useful:

  • Australian Cancer Survivorship Centre – We have an entire department at Peter Mac dedicated to Survivorship. You can find information about their programs and events via this link Cancer Survivorship. You may also be particularly interested in this page, Life After Treatment. Remember, you can always call the Survivorship department directly if you have more specific requirements (03) 8559 6220.
  • Cancer Council have a whole suite of services available to you, particularly Living Well After Cancer and Wellness and Life After Cancer.
  • For Peter Mac patients seeking support from our Psychology Team, simply call our Psychology Reception at 03 8559 5220 during office hours or email [email protected]. For non-Peter Mac patients, we suggest speaking with your treating team about a referral to your hospital’s Psychology Team or community services.