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Why aren’t doctors warning women with bladder cancer that surgery cure can also end their love life?

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why arent doctors warning women with bladder cancer that surgery cure can also end their love life

Thousands of women with bladder cancer are having life-changing surgery without realising it will end their sex lives, a Mail on Sunday investigation has found.

The operation, which involves removing the bladder and part of the vagina to ensure that cancer is eradicated, leaves most women unable to have sex again.

Even for those who can, sexual pleasure may be impossible because the procedure often causes permanent nerve damage.

The Mail on Sunday has learned that scores of women, some as young as 40, who undergo the operation are in the dark about the results. Patients say their doctors severely under-played the effects, using vague explanations such as ‘things not quite being the same down there’, ‘your sex life might not be the same’ and ‘bits and pieces might be missing’.

Bladder cancer mainly affects the over-65s, and surgeons, speaking to this newspaper, said that ‘at that age, sex isn’t such a priority’.

Yet one 57-year-old described her shock when, months after the procedure, she attempted to insert a pessary, only to discover she had essentially been left with no vagina. Another told of ‘excruciating agony’ when she tried to have sex for the first time after surgery.

Now, experts are calling for doctors to give official guidance to patients, with detailed explanations of the procedure’s consequences.

The consultants, from Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust in London, have launched a campaign urging doctors to speak candidly about the effects on women’s sex lives – something they say rarely happens due to bladder cancer being seen as a male disease.

The Mail on Sunday has learned that scores of women who undergo the operation are in the dark about the results. Patients say their doctors severely under-played the effects (stock)

The Mail on Sunday has learned that scores of women who undergo the operation are in the dark about the results. Patients say their doctors severely under-played the effects (stock)

The Mail on Sunday has learned that scores of women who undergo the operation are in the dark about the results. Patients say their doctors severely under-played the effects (stock)

Led by urologist Raj Nair, the initiative involves a document compiled by women’s health experts, including physiotherapists and gynaecologists, that gives a comprehensive explanation to patients.

Professor Mieke Van Hemelrijck, a cancer researcher, says: ‘We want medical teams to have clear discussions with patients. Currently, sexual consequences of bladder cancer treatment are not addressed, because it’s not an easy conversation.’

More than 10,000 Britons are diagnosed with bladder cancer every year. About a third of cases are the most aggressive type, often requiring chemotherapy followed by extensive surgery to destroy all cancer cells, known as a cystectomy. In men – who are twice as likely as women to suffer the disease – this usually involves the removal of the prostate, leaving more than half suffering from erectile dysfunction.

Medication and other treatments can often remedy the problem to some extent, but women rarely have these options. Their surgery involves the removal of the bladder, as well as the cervix – the opening of the womb – and the front, or anterior, vaginal wall, where the cancer typically first spreads. Sometimes doctors must remove the uterus, ovaries and Fallopian tubes, too, resulting in infertility.

Only a handful of specialist hospitals offer vaginal reconstruction, and it is rarely provided on the NHS. Experts also argue that far more women than necessary are undergoing the procedure because they are diagnosed at a late stage.

More than 10,000 Britons are diagnosed with bladder cancer every year. About a third of cases are the most aggressive type, often requiring chemotherapy followed by extensive surgery to destroy all cancer cells, known as a cystectomy (stock image of bladder anatomy)

More than 10,000 Britons are diagnosed with bladder cancer every year. About a third of cases are the most aggressive type, often requiring chemotherapy followed by extensive surgery to destroy all cancer cells, known as a cystectomy (stock image of bladder anatomy)

More than 10,000 Britons are diagnosed with bladder cancer every year. About a third of cases are the most aggressive type, often requiring chemotherapy followed by extensive surgery to destroy all cancer cells, known as a cystectomy (stock image of bladder anatomy)

Symptoms of bladder cancer, including blood in the urine and pelvic pain, are often mistaken for urinary tract infections, which are common in women.

A 2013 study published in the British Medical Journal found nearly a third of female bladder cancer patients visited the GP at least three times before being referred to a cancer expert, compared with one in ten men. As a result, one woman in three with the disease is diagnosed at a late stage, requiring the most intensive treatment, compared with just over a fifth of men, according to NHS figures.

Speaking to The Mail on Sunday, NHS urologists reported seeing at least one case of delayed diagnosis every month – usually a woman in her 40s or 50s. Professor John Kelly, consultant urological surgeon at University College London Hospital, says that at late stages the cancer has often spread to the vaginal wall, as well as to the glands in the pelvis. He explains: ‘Sometimes the upper portion of the vagina, along with the urethra and lymph nodes, must be removed to clear the cancer. This means the vagina becomes smaller and narrowed so patients cannot have intercourse.

‘We try to preserve as much as possible, but getting cancer clearance is life-saving. Women need to be warned about how their sex life will be affected because, depending on how much their disease has spread, they may choose to have radiotherapy instead.’

Tim Dudderidge, consultant urologist at Southampton University NHS Trust, adds: ‘Women who have this operation are often left with practically no vagina. It is wrong that this can happen without discussion.’

Some experts say the effect on sexual function is overshadowed by another life-changing repercussion of bladder removal: the need for a urinary stoma bag, to clear urine from the body in the absence of a bladder. Prof Kelly says: ‘Sexual function may also be low on the priority list, so perhaps patients don’t fully take in the information.’

Signature is no longer enough to gain a patient’s consent to an operation, top medical body’s new rules state

A SIGNATURE on a medical form is no longer considered enough to gain a patient’s consent to an operation, according to official guidance.

Announced last week by the General Medical Council – the body that regulates medical practitioners – doctors must also engage in ‘meaningful dialogue tailored to the individual patient’s needs’.

The change, which comes into force next month, is the first made to the body’s ethical guidance since 2008, and is in response to several legal cases which have questioned the strength of written consent.

Medical ethicist and barrister Daniel Sokol – who accuses doctors of ‘rattling through consent’ – says patients cannot consent to treatment, even if it is in writing, if the procedure is not fully explained in relatable terms by a professional.

He adds: ‘Consent forms often contain medical language which patients don’t fully understand.’

 

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Urologist and cancer specialist Jo Cresswell, of The British Association of Urological Surgeons, says the information relayed to patients before surgery is the same whether the doctor is a man or a woman. The body provides patients and surgeons with an official leaflet containing in-depth details of the consequences of the procedure, including loss of sexual function.

But patients speaking to this newspaper said the leaflet was ‘too simplistic’. Shirley Norris, 57, from Lancashire, a manager at outsourcing firm Capita, recalled her ‘devastating shock’ when she tried to insert a pessary treatment for thrush, a year after the operation to remove her bladder, urethra, cervix and small bowel in 2017.

Shirley had suffered symptoms – blood in her urine – for 18 months and was treated for a urinary tract infection before being diagnosed with advanced bladder cancer. She says: ‘I knew I had only two options: have the surgery, or don’t have the surgery and die. I knew if they didn’t get rid of the cancer, I wouldn’t survive.

‘Mention of the removal of the ‘anterior wall of the vagina’ was tacked on to the end of a long speech about why the operation was vital. There was some talk of my urinary stoma, but nothing more about how it might affect being intimate with my husband.

‘A physiotherapist spoke to me about exercises to help me recover after surgery, and when I said something about sex, she put her hand up and said, ‘I don’t know if you have sex – and I don’t want to know.’ It made me feel like a child, as if I should be grateful that they were keeping me alive.’

About eight months after the operation, Shirley and her husband Mike, 58, a water engineer, attempted to reignite their previously healthy sex life, but she was left in agonising pain.

She says: ‘I was too embarrassed to tell anyone at first, but when I suffered a bout of thrush and tried to insert a pessary, I couldn’t. It felt like something was blocking it and, panicking that it was another tumour, I went to my GP. She examined me, then told me my vagina was removed during the surgery. I hadn’t understood at the time because it really wasn’t explained to me.’

Mother-of-two Shirley, who has been in remission for three years, adds: ‘Having sex is not possible now. I have a vagina just over an inch in depth.

‘I tweeted about it and was overwhelmed with messages from other women with the same problem. The misery and shock that follows, on top of having cancer, is very hard to bear.’

A swathe of accounts shared on Facebook groups for bladder cancer patients tell of similar stories. Anita Brown, 49, from Hampshire, was told simply to expect ‘sex to be a bit difficult and not the same as it was before’, ahead of the operation to remove her bladder and a portion of her vagina in 2016.

A year after her operation, Anita, a former carer, and husband Tim, a 49-year-old engineer, tried to have sex, resulting in ‘absolute agony – like a scraping inside me’.

She says: ‘I researched online and have now met at least 20 other women who, like me, weren’t informed properly about the consequences.’

Faster diagnosis, using new, high-tech screening tools, is one solution to this problem, according to Mr Dudderidge. Now, he and his colleagues at Newcastle University, along with medical innovation company Arquer Diagnostics, are trialling a simple test to spot early signs of bladder cancer in the urine.

The technology, temporarily being offered to UK NHS hospital patients by the firm in order to clear a backlog due to the impact of Covid, looks for a protein called MCM5 that is released when cancer cells replicate.

Clinical trials involving more than 3,000 patients have shown the tests to be almost 100 per cent accurate at correctly identifying tumours. The test, called Adxbladder, can deliver results within two days, allowing for speedier referrals.

Mr Stuart McCracken, clinical lecturer and honorary consultant urologist at, Newcastle University, who has developed the test alongside Mr Dudderidge, says: ‘Women are going to and fro with a suspected urine infection. But with this test available, they can be diagnosed and treated much more quickly.’

Sadly, the test is too late for Shirley. She is awaiting support from a sexual physiotherapist, who will teach her to use medical dilators to expand the vaginal canal.

As for what she wishes she had been told before her procedure, she says a single sentence would have made all the difference. ‘No one knows what ‘anterior wall’ means,’ she says. ‘Just say that part of you will be shorter, or narrower, and we don’t know the full extent of the change until surgery is over. It’s simple, clear – and I’d have been prepared.’

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

Australia

Anti-lockdown protesters clash with police in Melbourne – officers use pepper spray

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anti lockdown protesters clash with police in melbourne officers use pepper spray

A police horse has been attacked with a pole and punches thrown at officers who have retaliated with pepper spray in wild anti-lockdown protests in Melbourne.  

The scuffle erupted as police met the front-line of protesters who had gathered at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne on Thursday afternoon.

About 200 to 300 Melburnians bearing ant-lockdown signs and chanting slogans turned out at the city’s sacred war memorial in opposition to ongoing coronavirus restrictions in the city.

A police horse has been attacked with a pole and punches thrown at officers who have retaliated with pepper spray in wild anti-lockdown protests in Melbourne (pictured)

A police horse has been attacked with a pole and punches thrown at officers who have retaliated with pepper spray in wild anti-lockdown protests in Melbourne (pictured)

A police horse has been attacked with a pole and punches thrown at officers who have retaliated with pepper spray in wild anti-lockdown protests in Melbourne (pictured) 

Protesters who turned out in their hundreds in the Melbourne CBD on Thursday afternoon were met by police (pictured)

Protesters who turned out in their hundreds in the Melbourne CBD on Thursday afternoon were met by police (pictured)

Protesters who turned out in their hundreds in the Melbourne CBD on Thursday afternoon were met by police (pictured) 

Plastic bottles were reportedly hurled at officers, with an AAP photographer at the scene confirming police have used pepper spray against the protesters.

A number of people have been arrested with one man being filmed yelling at officers: ‘What are you holding me for? What is the problem with you?’ 

Protesters were seen holding the Australian and American and Eureka flags and bearing placards which read ‘Free Vic’ and ‘Corona hoax 1984’. 

The protest got underway about 2pm and is the latest in a string of protests against Premier Daniel Andrews’ tough measures to control COVID-19 infections throughout the last few months.

Protesters face two separate fines if they attend an anti-lockdown rally in Melbourne’s CBD.

Police officers on horseback were at the event with one police horse reportedly being attacked with a pole by a protester

Police officers on horseback were at the event with one police horse reportedly being attacked with a pole by a protester

Police officers on horseback were at the event with one police horse reportedly being attacked with a pole by a protester 

Melbourne has endured months of strict Stage Four lockdowns to battles coronavirus with restrictions expected to be slightly eased on Sunday

Melbourne has endured months of strict Stage Four lockdowns to battles coronavirus with restrictions expected to be slightly eased on Sunday

Melbourne has endured months of strict Stage Four lockdowns to battles coronavirus with restrictions expected to be slightly eased on Sunday 

Police met protesters out in force on Thursday afternoon in Melbourne's CBD (pictured) with pepper spray being deployed

Police met protesters out in force on Thursday afternoon in Melbourne's CBD (pictured) with pepper spray being deployed

Police met protesters out in force on Thursday afternoon in Melbourne’s CBD (pictured) with pepper spray being deployed 

Plastic bottles were reportedly hurled at officers, with an AAP photographer at the scene confirming police have used pepper spray against the protesters

Plastic bottles were reportedly hurled at officers, with an AAP photographer at the scene confirming police have used pepper spray against the protesters

Plastic bottles were reportedly hurled at officers, with an AAP photographer at the scene confirming police have used pepper spray against the protesters 

Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner Luke Cornelius has warned that protesters could also fall foul of legislation governing behaviour at the Shrine.

Mr Cornelius said the RSL and the Shrine have made it clear that any protest on the site is disrespectful to the memory of people who have served their country.

He said the Shrine legislation covered behaviour and how people are dressed, adding that anyone who refuses to obey police could be fined around $300.

While lockdown rules have been eased this week, Melburnians can still travel no more than 25km from their homes and are not permitted to have visitors to their home unless for caregiving reasons.

They also can be fined if they gather in groups of more than 10 from more than two households, and must wear masks as well as social distance.

There were scuffles and several arrests last month as police broke up a protest at the Shrine.

A website for the Friday protest tells participants: ‘Daniel Andrews must resign and lockdowns must end. Restore our freedoms now.’

The protests turned violent with reports of punches being traded between protesters and police officers on Thursday (pictured)

The protests turned violent with reports of punches being traded between protesters and police officers on Thursday (pictured)

The protests turned violent with reports of punches being traded between protesters and police officers on Thursday (pictured) 

About 200 to 300 Melburnians bearing ant-lockdown signs and chanting slogans turned out at the city's sacred war memorial in opposition to ongoing coronavirus restrictions in the city

About 200 to 300 Melburnians bearing ant-lockdown signs and chanting slogans turned out at the city's sacred war memorial in opposition to ongoing coronavirus restrictions in the city

About 200 to 300 Melburnians bearing ant-lockdown signs and chanting slogans turned out at the city’s sacred war memorial in opposition to ongoing coronavirus restrictions in the city 

MELBOURNE’S ROADMAP OUT OF COVID-19 LOCKDOWN – WHAT YOU WILL BE ABLE TO DO AND WHEN:

Step one: Came into effect on September 14 

Step two: Came into effect on September 28 

Step three: When there is a daily statewide average of five new cases over the past 14 days. The original aim was for October 26, brought forward to October 19 after the 14-day average of new cases fell below initial expectations, but again put on hold after new case numbers plateaued.

This has now been revamped to be a series of ‘mini-steps’ and more gradual easings as the numbers proved difficult to shift.

Step four: The move to step four will come when there have been no new COVID-19 cases in the past 14 days. The aim is for this to come into place on November 23 

COVID Normal: After 28 days of no new COVID-19 cases, things will return to normal. 

FREEDOMS YOU GET AT EACH STEP OF EASING 

Step one – came into effect September 14 

Curfew has been eased to 9pm-5am

People can still only leave home for the four reasons (shopping, exercise, work and care or medical attention)

Public gatherings increased to two people, or a household, for a maximum of two hours

 Singles can have one nominated person to their home as part of the ‘singles social bubble’ 

Childcare and early educators to remain closed

Schools will continue to learn remotely unless they have exemptions

 Adult education to continue to be done remotely, unless they have exemption

 Only go to work if you are in a permitted industry 

– Cafes and restaurants will continue with take away only

– Retail businesses will remain open for essential shopping, with others only operating with click and collect

– Only one person per household can do the essential shopping 

Step two – came into effect September 28

 Melbourne’s curfew lifted

– Public gatherings increase again to five people from a maximum of two households

Childcare and early educators can re-open

Schools to continue with remote learning, but Prep to Grade Two and Year 11 and Year 12 students will gradually return to class in Term 4 

 There will be an increase to permitted workplaces

Step three – originally expected October 26, brought forward to October 19 

There are no restrictions on leaving home

Public gatherings increase to 10 people together outdoors

 A ‘household bubble’ will be introduced, so five people from one house can visit another 

Remote learning to continue, but Grades 3 to Year 11 can gradually return to class

– Adult education to continue to be done remotely, but hands on classes will see a phased return to onsite 

 Work from home is encouraged

– Up to 10 people can eat together at restaurants and cafes, with the majority of tables outdoor

– Retail shops to reopen, with hairdresses operating under safety measures but beauty stores to remain closed

– Real estate agents can conduct private inspections by appointment

– The one person per household limit on shopping is to be revoked 

Step four – expected in November, dependent on new case numbers:

Public gatherings to increase to 50 people outdoors

 Up to 20 visitors can attend a home at any one time

 All adult education will return to onsite with safety measures in place

– Groups limited to 20 indoors and a maximum of 50 patrons per venue

– All retail stores to reopen, while real estate agents can operate with safety measures and by keeping a record of attendants

Step five – COVID normal:

Public gatherings have no restriction

 There will also be no restriction on visitors to homes

– Phased return to onsite work for work from home workers

  Schools to reopen as normal

– Restrictions on hospitality removed, but venues to continue keeping records 

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This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Candice Warner struts her stuff in a $10,000 designer outfit

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candice warner struts her stuff in a 10000 designer outfit

Candice Warner showed off her expensive designer taste during an outing in Sydney on Thursday.

The former Ironwoman stunned in floral shorts and a matching shirt from Zimmermann, which totalled $790.

The 35-year-old accessorised with a Louis Vuitton’s stylish Petite Malle handbag, worth $7,850. 

Designer diva! Candice Warner showed off her expensive designer style during an outing in Sydney on Thursday

Designer diva! Candice Warner showed off her expensive designer style during an outing in Sydney on Thursday

Designer diva! Candice Warner showed off her expensive designer style during an outing in Sydney on Thursday

With the price of her heels, sunglasses and jewellery factored in, Candice’s ensemble would easily be worth $10,000 – if not more. 

The blonde beauty was attending a fancy luncheon with Australian rapper Briggs. 

Candice’s outing comes after her dramatic falling out with former friend Roxy Jacenko on SAS Australia.

Matching: The former Ironwoman stunned in floral shorts and a matching shirt from Zimmerman, which totalled $790

Matching: The former Ironwoman stunned in floral shorts and a matching shirt from Zimmerman, which totalled $790

Matching: The former Ironwoman stunned in floral shorts and a matching shirt from Zimmerman, which totalled $790

Expensive taste: The 35-year-old accessorised with a Louis Vuitton's stylish Petite Malle handbag, worth $7,850

Expensive taste: The 35-year-old accessorised with a Louis Vuitton's stylish Petite Malle handbag, worth $7,850

Totally fab: With the price of her heels, sunglasses and jewellery factored in, Candice's ensemble would easily be worth $10,000 - if not more

Totally fab: With the price of her heels, sunglasses and jewellery factored in, Candice's ensemble would easily be worth $10,000 - if not more

Expensive taste: The 35-year-old accessorised with a Louis Vuitton’s stylish Petite Malle handbag, worth $7,850

Strutting: The glamorous Ironwoman pounded the pavement with confidence

Strutting: The glamorous Ironwoman pounded the pavement with confidence

Strutting: The glamorous Ironwoman pounded the pavement with confidence 

On Tuesday, Roxy officially ended her friendship with Candice after they competed in a brutal boxing match on the military-inspired show.

The 40-year-old PR guru explained on The Kyle and Jackie O Show that she no longer considers Candice a friend after the women were pitted against each other in a physical fight during Monday’s season premiere.

While the mother of three happily took several swipes at Roxy during the fight, the Sydney publicist refused to retaliate because of their longstanding friendship.

‘You know what? Is [Candice] really my friend anymore? No,’ Roxy raged.

Statement heels: The blonde strutted along in a pair of spiked perspex heels

Statement heels: The blonde strutted along in a pair of spiked perspex heels

Statement heels: The blonde strutted along in a pair of spiked perspex heels  

‘You know why I never hit back? She’s my mate and I’m not going to smack [her] in the face for other people’s entertainment,’ she added.

‘You wouldn’t continue punching when the person – me – turns their back and continue punching them in the back of the head. In boxing, that’s totally not allowed. The reality is, I can’t punch my then-friend in the face for people’s entertainment.’

‘You look back and go, “F**k, I should have whacked her one,” but you know what? I’m bigger than that and I’ve got respect for other people,’ she continued.

Good times: Candice attended a fancy luncheon with Australian rapper Briggs. (Pictured together)

Good times: Candice attended a fancy luncheon with Australian rapper Briggs. (Pictured together)

Good times: Candice attended a fancy luncheon with Australian rapper Briggs. (Pictured together)

Candy phone home! The blonde beauty was engrossed in her iPhone

Candy phone home! The blonde beauty was engrossed in her iPhone

Candy phone home! The blonde beauty was engrossed in her iPhone 

Roxy said she reached out to Candice after filming the show in the NSW Snowy Mountains in August and tried to repair their broken friendship.

But instead of accepting the olive branch, Roxy claimed that Candice simply ‘sacked her’ as her manager instead.

‘No, she sacked me instead,’ Roxy laughed. ‘People will always let you down. I believe after what I did for Candice that it was a real smack in the face, pardon the pun.’

Indeed, Candice recently announced she was no longer being represented by Roxy’s influencer management company, The Ministry of Talent.

She is now represented by The Ministry of Talent’s main competitor, The Society Agency.

Feud: Candice's fancy luncheon comes after her dramatic falling out with former friend Roxy Jacenko on SAS Australia

Feud: Candice's fancy luncheon comes after her dramatic falling out with former friend Roxy Jacenko on SAS Australia

Feud: Candice’s fancy luncheon comes after her dramatic falling out with former friend Roxy Jacenko on SAS Australia

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Sam Burgess is all smiles after Bondi training session

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sam burgess is all smiles after bondi training session

A grinning and super fit Sam Burgess has put his ongoing legal dramas to the side as he enjoyed breakfast with his brother and friends at a trendy Bondi cafe after a workout. 

The embattled NRL legend has been keeping a low profile ever since a bombshell report was published in the The Australian about his marital issues and partying ways.

But Burgess, 31, and brother Luke ventured out of the Coogee unit they now share to attend a training sessions at Air Locker Training in Bondi Junction on Friday morning.

After the former South Sydney Rabbitohs champion smiled and laughed as he enjoyed a post-workout meal with his training partners ate out at a nearby cafe. 

A grinning Sam Burgess has tried to put ongoing legal dramas out of his mind during breakfast with his brother and friends at a trendy Bondi cafe on Friday morning

A grinning Sam Burgess has tried to put ongoing legal dramas out of his mind during breakfast with his brother and friends at a trendy Bondi cafe on Friday morning

Burgess

Burgess

A grinning Sam Burgess has tried to put ongoing legal dramas out of his mind during breakfast with his brother and friends at a trendy Bondi cafe on Friday morning

Burgess, 31, brother Luke and his girlfriend Tori May attended a training session at Air Locker Training in Bondi Junction

Burgess, 31, brother Luke and his girlfriend Tori May attended a training session at Air Locker Training in Bondi Junction

Burgess, 31, brother Luke and his girlfriend Tori May attended a training session at Air Locker Training in Bondi Junction

The embattled NRL star has been keeping a low profile in recent times ever since a bombshell report was published in the The Australian about his marital issues and partying ways

The embattled NRL star has been keeping a low profile in recent times ever since a bombshell report was published in the The Australian about his marital issues and partying ways

The embattled NRL star has been keeping a low profile in recent times ever since a bombshell report was published in the The Australian about his marital issues and partying ways

An always affable Burgess could be seen chatting with celebrity chef Scott Findlay, brother Luke, his girlfriend Tori May – and a bevvy of locals.

At one point the NRL champion laughed loudly after stepping away from the table to take a phone call. 

He then returned to say goodbye to his brother’s girlfriend, before patting his older brother on the chest as he left.

Training sessions at the high-altitude gym seem to be a weekly occurrence for both the Burgess brothers, who were last week joined by Luke’s daughter, Grace. 

Burgess’ workout came just days after he took aim at ex-wife Phoebe over her alleged release of a private police statement to The Australian in the lead up to their bombshell article.

Solicitor Bryan Wrench, for Burgess, told Moss Vale Local Court on Wednesday the publication of Phoebe’s statement was part of an attempt to ‘ambush’ his client. 

Mr Wrench has accused Phoebe or her father of leaking the unrelated allegations about Burgess which were published in The Australian on October 2.

Burgess has hired top Sydney barrister Phillip Boulten SC, who is also representing former NRL star Jarryd Hayne on rape charges, to act for him. 

Burgess is defending a charge of intimidating Phoebe’s father Mitchell Hooke, who is the subject of an interim apprehended violence order protecting him from the retired South Sydney captain.

Burgess carries an extra stool out to the table which was overflowing with fitness fanatics after their workout

Burgess carries an extra stool out to the table which was overflowing with fitness fanatics after their workout

Burgess carries an extra stool out to the table which was overflowing with fitness fanatics after their workout

The large group gathered at a Bondi Junction cafe right near their Air Locker Training session

The large group gathered at a Bondi Junction cafe right near their Air Locker Training session

 The large group gathered at a Bondi Junction cafe right near their Air Locker Training session

Burgess could be seen chatting with celebrity chef Scott Findlay (pictured) and a bevvy of females

Burgess could be seen chatting with celebrity chef Scott Findlay (pictured) and a bevvy of females

Burgess could be seen chatting with celebrity chef Scott Findlay (pictured) and a bevvy of females

At one point the NRL champion stepped away from the table to take a phone call

At one point the NRL champion stepped away from the table to take a phone call

At one point the NRL champion stepped away from the table to take a phone call

Burgess patted his brother on the chest before leaving the cafe and returning to the apartment they share in Coogee

Burgess patted his brother on the chest before leaving the cafe and returning to the apartment they share in Coogee

Burgess patted his brother on the chest before leaving the cafe and returning to the apartment they share in Coogee

Mr Wrench has accused Phoebe or her father of leaking the unrelated allegations about Burgess which were published in The Australian on October 2.

He is seeking access to Phoebe’s statement and objects to it having appeared in the media without being tendered in court.

‘The circumstances of the release of that statement confirm the animosity towards my client,’ Mr Wrench said.

‘They’ve tried to ambush us.’

Mr Wrench said police had confirmed to him that Phoebe made the statement late last month, just days before its contents were published.  

‘A statement was made on a certain date and that statement was given to The Australian,’ Mr Wrench told the court.

‘The police at no point released that statement to The Australian.’

Mr Wrench has suggested the document was deliberately leaked to the media ahead of the intimidation charge being heard.

The blissful photo comes after an article in The Australian newspaper last week, which contained bombshell accusations about Burgess’ behaviour towards his ex-wife Phoebe and claims of excessive partying. 

Burgess and brother Luke (right) attended the same training session a week earlier along with Luke's daughter Grace (front)

Burgess and brother Luke (right) attended the same training session a week earlier along with Luke's daughter Grace (front)

Burgess and brother Luke (right) attended the same training session a week earlier along with Luke’s daughter Grace (front)

The father-of-two was seen at Air Locker Training in Bondi on Thursday morning, in photos that were later shared to Luke's Instagram

The father-of-two was seen at Air Locker Training in Bondi on Thursday morning, in photos that were later shared to Luke's Instagram

The father-of-two was seen at Air Locker Training in Bondi on Thursday morning, in photos that were later shared to Luke’s Instagram

Sam was hit with a number of allegations in The Australian about his marriage to Phoebe (right) all of which he denies

Sam was hit with a number of allegations in The Australian about his marriage to Phoebe (right) all of which he denies

Sam was hit with a number of allegations in The Australian about his marriage to Phoebe (right) all of which he denies

The report by The Australian led to the NRL and police launching separate investigations into his personal life and any potential crimes (Sam and Phoebe are pictured together)

The report by The Australian led to the NRL and police launching separate investigations into his personal life and any potential crimes (Sam and Phoebe are pictured together)

The report by The Australian led to the NRL and police launching separate investigations into his personal life and any potential crimes (Sam and Phoebe are pictured together)

The claims have sparked an NRL Integrity Unit investigation as well as the launching of a police strike force, while Burgess has stood down from his off-field coaching role with the Rabbitohs and commentary role with Fox Sports. 

Burgess’s media lawyer Mark O’Brien has said: ‘The allegations are false and constitute an indefensible defamation against my client.

‘It is apparent sources of the false allegations are those currently in dispute with my client over various issues.’

His criminal defender Mr Wrench has now raised his concerns in open court on two occasions about The Australian article and how it came about.   

‘To be quite blunt, it appears that this is born out of either malice or retaliation,’ Mr Wrench told the court. 

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34031604 8842037 image a 6 1602730174589

Burgess was hit with an apprehended violence order taken out by police on behalf of his father-in law Mitch Hooke after an alleged confrontation between the pair last October. Mr Hooke is pictured with his daughter Phoebe

Sam denies all allegations levelled against him, which relate to an ongoing domestic violence court case involving him and ex-wife Phoebe's father Mitchell Hooke

Sam denies all allegations levelled against him, which relate to an ongoing domestic violence court case involving him and ex-wife Phoebe's father Mitchell Hooke

Julie Burgess (left), her eldest son Luke (front) and lawyer Bryan Wrench (back) gathered at Sam's home in Coogee over the weekend for crisis talks

Julie Burgess (left), her eldest son Luke (front) and lawyer Bryan Wrench (back) gathered at Sam's home in Coogee over the weekend for crisis talks

Sam denies all allegations levelled against him, which relate to an ongoing domestic violence court case involving him and ex-wife Phoebe’s father Mitchell Hooke (Julie Burgess is pictured on the left, her eldest son Luke is at the front and lawyer Bryan Wrench can be seen at back)

After retiring from the NRL last year, Burgess took up a coaching role with South Sydney. In the wake of the bombshell allegations he stood down from that job and a commentary spot on Fox League

After retiring from the NRL last year, Burgess took up a coaching role with South Sydney. In the wake of the bombshell allegations he stood down from that job and a commentary spot on Fox League

After retiring from the NRL last year, Burgess took up a coaching role with South Sydney. In the wake of the bombshell allegations he stood down from that job and a commentary spot on Fox League

As part of the article, staff members at Souths were also accused of ignoring Burgess’s alleged indiscretions.

Among the major allegations were claims about an incident inside the Burgess home at Maroubra, in Sydney’s east, in November 2018, where he was behaving erratically.

A former teammate of Burgess’s is due to be questioned by police over Zoom this week from the UK, where he is playing in the English Super League.

Jason Clark was the person Phoebe Burgess turned to during the 2018 incident with Sam at their home, The Australian reported.

Evidence Clark gives to police could form a key part of the investigation into Burgess and South Sydney, as well as the team’s medical staff.

Burgess embraces former Rabbitohs team mate Jason Clark after a match in September 2018

Burgess embraces former Rabbitohs team mate Jason Clark after a match in September 2018

Burgess embraces former Rabbitohs team mate Jason Clark after a match in September 2018

Phoebe Burgess (pictured) looks downcast amid allegations against her ex-husband Sam

Phoebe Burgess (pictured) looks downcast amid allegations against her ex-husband Sam

Phoebe Burgess (pictured) looks downcast amid allegations against her ex-husband Sam

A close friend told The Daily Telegraph that Burgess was particularly upset about the allegations regarding his marriage to ex-wife Phoebe Burgess (The former couple are pictured together at a David Jones event in Sydney on February 7, 2018)

A close friend told The Daily Telegraph that Burgess was particularly upset about the allegations regarding his marriage to ex-wife Phoebe Burgess (The former couple are pictured together at a David Jones event in Sydney on February 7, 2018)

A close friend told The Daily Telegraph that Burgess was particularly upset about the allegations regarding his marriage to ex-wife Phoebe Burgess (The former couple are pictured together at a David Jones event in Sydney on February 7, 2018)

Clark had attended the couple’s house along with Burgess’ mother Julie, who had brought Sam and older brother Luke home from a city hotel.

Mr Hooke and his wife Sarah were also reportedly at the house.

Detectives have already interviewed Phoebe and visited several relevant locations, including an underground car park where Burgess allegedly received medical treatment.

A pharmacy linked to the club’s doctor Andrew McDonald has also reportedly been visited by police.

Souths co-owner, Hollywood star Russell Crowe, could be called to give evidence before the NRL inquiry.

Burgess has been holed-up at his home in Coogee, in Sydney’s east, since the allegations were published.

He has been left ‘devastated’ by the accusations against him, a close friend told The Daily Telegraph.

Burgess at a Rabbitohs training session in Canberra in September 2019. A source close to him said he has been left devastated by the allegations

Burgess at a Rabbitohs training session in Canberra in September 2019. A source close to him said he has been left devastated by the allegations

Burgess at a Rabbitohs training session in Canberra in September 2019. A source close to him said he has been left devastated by the allegations

WHO ARE THE BURGESS FAMILY? 

JULIE: A former high school deputy headmaster, the matriarch of the family is renowned for defending her four boys, always. She followed her sons to Australia in 2012 after they had established careers with South Sydney

MARK: The boys’ father died in 2007 at age 45 after a long battle with motor neurone disease. While their towering height comes from Julie, Mark is credited for giving the boys their brawn and toughness. 

LUKE: The oldest of the four boys, he is known to his brothers as ‘Biffa’. Luke moved to Australia in 2011 to play for South Sydney. He began dating model Yolanda Hodgson and the couple have a daughter Grace, but split in 2019.

SAM: The first of the family to make the move to Sydney, he quickly became a key part of the Rabbitohs outfit. After a few years together he married Phoebe Hooke in 2015, before their public split in late 2018. They have two children, Poppy and Billy.

TOM: Tom and his twin brother George are the youngest members of the family. He was the last of the family to move to Australia in 2011. He is engaged to Tahlia Giumelli and the couple are currently expecting a second child.

GEORGE: The 28-year-old has returned to England to play in the Super League having married wife Joanna in 2016. The couple have three children under the age of three.

Tom, George, Luke and Sam Burgess stand on either side of their mother Julie after their first appearance in first grade together in 2013

Tom, George, Luke and Sam Burgess stand on either side of their mother Julie after their first appearance in first grade together in 2013

Tom, George, Luke and Sam Burgess stand on either side of their mother Julie after their first appearance in first grade together in 2013

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‘He is angry and feels like he doesn’t have a voice,’ the friend said.

‘[The allegations are] something that is abhorrent to him, which makes it all the more harder to stomach.’

Burgess retired last October after a spate of injuries but stayed at the club, where he has been working as a development coach. 

Souths CEO Mr Solly has said he knew nothing of the allegations made by The Australian until being contacted by journalists.

Club coach Wayne Bennett said was also unaware of the allegations.

‘I’ve been here since 2018 and I knew nothing about it until I’d been told in the last 24 hours,’ Bennett said.

Burgess and ex-wife Phoebe during happier times at the 2016 Dally M awards in Sydney

Burgess and ex-wife Phoebe during happier times at the 2016 Dally M awards in Sydney

Burgess and ex-wife Phoebe during happier times at the 2016 Dally M awards in Sydney

Burgess (pictured with ex-wife Phoebe) has stepped down from his coaching role at Souths and denied all allegations

Burgess (pictured with ex-wife Phoebe) has stepped down from his coaching role at Souths and denied all allegations

Burgess (pictured with ex-wife Phoebe) has stepped down from his coaching role at Souths and denied all allegations

‘I have never had a player or any staff member talk to me about it in any shape or form.

‘They are allegations. When we get all the facts together and see this at the end of the day, we will take another position on it and make another statement.’

Ms Burgess remains with her family in Bowral, caring for the two young children she shares with Burgess.

Her manager Sharon Finnigan said: ‘Phoebe is trying to get by and manage and care for her two children… She is doing her best as a single mother.’

The former couple married at Phoebe’s parents home in December 2015 and separated in December 2018, weeks after the birth of their son Billy.

The couple had rekindled their relationship by April 2019 but split again last October.

Their divorce was finalised in April. They also have an older daughter, Poppy.

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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