Upbeat and chatty Jim Molan is seen on live TV just weeks before his death from prostate cancer – as top doctor reveals the number one symptom of the deadly disease
- Jim Molan appeared healthy in Sky News interview
- Retired major general spoke about Chinese diplomacy
- Three weeks later Molan died after prostate cancer battle
Jim Molan appeared upbeat and chatty in an interview just three weeks before he died from prostate cancer, with doctors warning Australians to be on the lookout for symptoms including changes to your urination.
The retired major general and Liberal Senator had been speaking about Australia and Chinese diplomacy during an interview with Sky News in December.
Molan seemed animated as he spoke coherently and lucidly from his home while conversing in a video call with host James Morrow.
Less than one month later, he died at the age of 72 on Monday with his family revealing his health had rapidly declined following Christmas celebrations.
Jim Molan appeared the picture of health during a live TV interview three weeks before he died after a two-year battle with prostate cancer
Dr Dundee said current treatment like chemotherapy and testosterone suppression helped keep symptoms at bay but came with their own side effects
Dr Philip Dundee explained to Daily Mail Australia that treatment for prostate cancer treatment is so advanced that it was common for people to appear like they were still living a normal life.
‘In men who have prostate cancer because it wasn’t picked up early enough, or when they’re in the advanced stages of disease, there is an effective treatment, but it can’t be cured,’ he said.
Molan was diagnosed with an aggressive form of prostate cancer in 2021.
Dr Dundee said most patients died when their prostate cancer had metastasised and spread to other parts of the body, indicating the depth of Molan’s struggle.
‘It can spread around the body to the lymph node system, bones and organs,’ he said.
‘It can be painful. If the disease spreads to the bones, it can cause fractures. Even the presence of the disease in the bones can be painful.
‘It can involve the spine and move to the spinal cord.’
Dr Dundee explained current treatments like chemotherapy and testosterone suppression helped keep symptoms at bay but came with their own side effects.
‘This can include loss of muscle strength and bulk, a tendency to put on weight, energy levels deteriorating or suffering from hot flashes,’ he said.
Prostate cancer is often hard to diagnose, with early stages of the disease unlikely to cause symptoms.
‘Advanced prostate cancer symptoms can include: frequent urination, pain while urinating, blood in the urine or semen, a weak stream, pain in the back or pelvis and weak legs or feet,’ he explained.
Less than one month after the interview, Mr Molan died at the age of 72 on Monday with his family revealing his health had rapidly declined following Christmas celebrations
WHAT IS PROSTATE CANCER?
Prostate cancer develops when abnormal cells in the prostate gland grow in an uncontrolled way, forming a malignant tumour.
It is estimated that more than 24,200 males in Australia were diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2022. The average age at diagnosis is 69 years old.
Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australia, and it is estimated that one in six males will be diagnosed by the time they are 85.
Prostate cancer symptoms
Early prostate cancer usually does not cause symptoms.
Advanced prostate cancer symptoms can include: frequent urination, pain while urinating, blood in the urine or semen, a weak stream, pain in the back or pelvis and weak legs or feet.
More widespread disease often spreads to the bones and causes pain or unexplained weight loss and fatigue.
Screening for prostate cancer
There are no tests available with sufficient accuracy to screen populations of men for early signs of prostate cancer. However, early detection and treatment can significantly improve prostate cancer survival.
The test most commonly used to aid early detection of prostate cancer is the prostate specific antigen (PSA) blood test.
This is not a diagnostic test as it can only indicate changes in the prostate. If you are concerned about prostate cancer you should talk to your doctor and make an informed choice about whether to have one of the tests designed to find early signs of prostate cancer, in view of the potential risks and benefits.
Dr Michael Mosley explained how the prostate was affected by cancerous growth.
‘The prostate is a gland, about the size of a walnut, which surrounds the urethra — the tube which you pee through,’ he said.
‘Unfortunately it grows from our 50s onwards and men often experience symptoms caused by the prostate compressing the urethra, such as waking up frequently during the night and finding it hard to start urinating.’
Some 24,200 men were diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2022 with the average age of diagnosis at 69.
‘Although these can also be symptoms of prostate cancer, they are normally the result of an enlarged prostate,’
Men are more likely to develop the cancer in their 50s, though more are being discovered while they’re still in their 40s.
‘One of the scary things about prostate cancer is there are rarely any symptoms until the tumour has got quite large or has spread,’ Dr Mosley said.
‘And once that happens, you might experience back pain, problems getting or keeping an erection, blood in the urine or unexplained weight loss.’
Molan remained defiant following his diagnosis and was optimistic about his future battle with the illness.
‘I am receiving the best possible care from my clinicians and have the love, support and prayers of my family,’ he said.
‘I have never been afraid to fight the battles that need fighting, and this is no exception.’
Molan (pictured in 2019 was diagnosed with an aggressive form of prostate cancer in 2021
He took a leave of absence to begin chemotherapy before returning to parliament and becoming re-elected for a six-year term in the 2022 election.
Public updates on his health were pushed to the sidelines before his family broke the news on Tuesday he had lost his battle.
‘He was many things – a soldier, a pilot, an author, a volunteer firefighter, and a senator. Most of all, he was an adored husband, father, grandfather, and brother,’ his family said in a statement.
‘Our loss is immeasurable, but we are comforted in our memories of a full life courageously lived, devoted to family and in service of the country he loved.
‘We thank you for your thoughts and prayers, and for respecting our privacy at this difficult time.’
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese paid tribute in an emotional post on Twitter.
‘Jim Molan lived his life in service of our country. He was a man of principle and a politician of conviction. My condolences to his loved ones, colleagues and friends,’ he wrote.
Dr Philip Dundee told Daily Mail Australia prostate cancer treatment was so advanced it was common for people to appear like they were still living a normal life
Public updates on Molan’s health were pushed to the sidelines before his family broke the news on Tuesday he had lost his battle
Former prime minister Scott Morrison said he left ‘an amazing legacy’.
‘He was a very big man, Jim – big in stature… he had big ideas, he had big passions,’ he said.
‘Jim’s service in Iraq at the senior level… was like few Australian servicemen and women had ever experienced, such was the regard that was held of Jim’s military capabilities.’
Another colleague and former minister Keith Pitt said it was a ‘great loss’ for Senator Molan’s family, parliament and Australia.
‘A bloke that would always take your call,’ Mr Pitt tweeted.
Defence Minister Richard Marles paid tribute to his exemplary military service.
‘We’re obviously on opposite sides of the fence but we both shared an interest in national security … he was an honourable and gracious man and having served in the Senate for five years, he’s been a fierce advocate for our nation,’ he told Nine Radio.
Former RSL president and army veteran James Brown said Senator Molan was a ‘great patriot’.
‘A deep thinker, an unstoppable force, and a good friend – we will miss him.’
His replacement in the Senate is likely to be held up by the NSW state election in March, as it requires the selection of a nominee by the Liberal party and the endorsement of a joint sitting of the state parliament.