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The most personal photo you will see of this veteran MP

Member for Caloundra Mark McArdle's private photograph receiving scalp freezing treatment in his cancer therapy.
Member for Caloundra Mark McArdle's private photograph receiving scalp freezing treatment in his cancer therapy. Kathy Sundstrom

THIS is the cap that protected Mark McArdle's hair during his gruelling cancer treatment.

The Member for Caloundra and veteran LNP politician has shared a deeply private photograph of himself in the middle of treatment to provide hope for others facing a cancer journey.

Mr McArdle was one of the first in Queensland to use a new "scalp cooling treatment", available at the Sunshine Coast Haematology and Oncology Clinic.

"I was told by doctors that I would be as bald as a billiard ball from the treatment," Mr McArdle said.

"But they've not now a new medical treatment that occurs at the same time as chemotherapy and it freezes your head.

"It's like the old bathing caps the ladies used to wear, but it is fastened to your head before chemo.

"Inside the cap is a series of hollow tubes, the machine pushes through the liquid that, in effect, freezes the hair follicle area.

"Chemotherapy then doesn't have a chance to impact the follicles."

It wasn't easy for Mr McArdle to share such a humbling photograph of himself.

"I have decided to forward it, but only on the basis that this is a major advancement in this area.

"I absolutely accept the right of people to know how the chemotherapy is progressing given my public position, but outside of the medical impact of chemotherapy, the use of the cap is a personal one private to all persons.

"However if publication of the existence of the cap can provide hope and assist in spreading the word then it is more than worthwhile."

Mr McArdle was first diagnosed with an aggressive form of prostate cancer in 2013 and took time off from his duties for treatment.

It resurfaced in April this year and he faced the daunting worst case prognosis of six to 10 years life expectancy.

Mr McArdle will go for the last of his six cancer treatments next week.

The results have been promising.

"My PSA (prostate specific antigen) reading is down to .008, which is almost undetectable," he said.

"You are always on the watch, just in case, and you have to have ongoing medical assessments.

"But the drugs that are being developed right across the spectrum at the moment are phenomenal."

Mr McArdle said irrespective of the cap, treatment of cancer was "paramount".

"From my first diagnosis to my current treatment I have been given wonderful treatment and support by my doctors and nurses," he said.

"Yet they all pale against the love and support of my wife Judy, my family and friends. It seems to me that with them there is little I can't achieve."

Somehow, Mr McArdle has also been able to avoid the nasty side effects of chemotherapy and hasn't spent a day out of the office.

"I don't understand why, maybe it is my metabolism or a genetic makeup?

"I can't comment on medically why it is the case. All I can do is say thank you to the doctors and go on bended knee to a higher power."

Topics:  cancer editors picks mark mcardle member for caloundra prostate cancer



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