New scholarship improving prostate cancer outcomes

Thanks to the support of the community and The Masonic Charities Trust, a Dutch doctor has been awarded a new scholarship to boost prostate cancer research at Flinders and improve patient outcomes.

Dr Jordi Visscher has moved to Adelaide from the Netherlands to start the three-year PhD Scholarship, as he pursues his goal of becoming a consultant urologist.

“Recent increases in quality-adjusted life years post-prostate surgery together with time-of-diagnosis at increasingly younger ages, have created a significant and underexplored public health issue,” Dr Visscher said.

“We aim to provide an evidence-based response to increasing calls for better functional outcomes in men with prostate cancer.”

The scholarship, seeking to improve the level of research and engagement among urologists in South Australia, is one of nine projects being undertaken by researchers in the new Freemasons Centre for Male Health and Wellbeing at Flinders University.

“Because of this scholarship, we have the unique opportunity to explore these critical issues using high-quality data from one of the largest registries of prostate cancer patients in Australia,” said Dr Visscher, who graduated with a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery in the English-taught program in Groningen, the Netherlands, in 2016.

He completed his Master’s thesis in 2020 and then spent time as a resident medical officer in the urology and emergency departments at a regional hospital.

“I believe our project will contribute to exploring the relationship between smoking habits and the post-surgical urinary and sexual outcomes in men treated for localised prostate cancer,” he said.

Dr Visscher had been searching for a suitable project to assist his urology career.

“I came across possible projects and supervisors via the Freemasons Centre for Male Health and Wellbeing and Flinders University. The city of Adelaide as a location was an added bonus,” he said.

“Apart from contributing to the current knowledge and literature by means of several publications and improving patient outcomes after prostate surgery, I also aim to develop my personal academic skills, as well as improving the knowledge needed to build towards my future career.”

Flinders Medical Centre Associate Professor Michael O’Callaghan said attracting more advanced urology trainees to the state would help improve the level of research engagement among local urologists.

The Freemasons Centre for Male Health and Wellbeing is an SA and NT research alliance involving Flinders University and Flinders Foundation, Masonic Charities Trust, the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute, Menzies School of Health Research and University of Adelaide

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