It’s estimated that 90,000 Australian men are living with prostate cancer. Peter Dungan, a regular at the YMCA-managed Deakin Burwood Fitness Centre, is sadly one of them.
A loving father, Peter was determined not to let the cancer beat him after being diagnosed in July 2015. Receiving his initial treatment and going through hormone and androgen deprivation therapy, Peter decided to take part in a revolutionary program with the hope of improving his chances of survival.
The Deakin University IMPACT: Prostate Cancer, Exercise and Nutrition Study aims to reverse the negative side effects of treatment, which can increase morbidity and mortality rates, through an exercise and supplementation program.
“I take vitamin D, protein, and calcium in conjunction with a healthy diet,” explains Peter.
“I then started with two days of training, doing exercise and functional movements with an exercise physiologist. One session is in the lab to track my progress, and the other at the YMCA.”
At the beginning, Peter was feeling side effects of his hormone treatment. Dealing with weight gain, fatigue, arthritis, and losing some cognitive skills – working out in the gym wasn’t easy. But despite this, Peter pushed on with his training program, increasing his attendance to twice a week in the gym.
“I felt terrible at the start of the program, and really struggled do what was being asked of me at times,” Peter says.
Knowing the results would come, Peter persevered and within six months made remarkable progress. Thanks to his hard work, diet and training program, he turned 3.5kg of body fat into muscle, reduced his cholesterol levels significantly, and for the first time in months has a healthy blood pressure level. His cognitive skills have started to come back, and even his fatigue levels are improving despite still going through hormone therapy.
Not only has his health improved, but he has also been an inspiration for staff and patrons alike on the gym floor each week.
“We love having Peter here at the Y, and his progress is nothing short of outstanding,” said Nathan Sibilia, Centre Director at the Deakin Burwood Fitness Centre.
“Considering how much he has been through and the challenges he continues to face, he truly is an inspiration."
Peter knows that there is plenty more work to be done, but he is certainly moving in the right direction.
“You need to have a positive outlook and have goals,” Peter explains.
“Recently one of my children was married. It was such a beautiful event, and it makes you realise how important it is to stay committed to getting better.”
The YMCA is proud to be partnering with the Deakin University IMPACT study, providing more cancer patients the opportunity to access our health and fitness facilities and professionals. The YMCA at Deakin provides all participants a 12 month membership, as well as trainers and professional health and fitness advice.