The Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia has praised the Federal Government's funding support to review Australia's clinical practice guidelines on PSA testing.
This week’s 2022 Budget set aside $700,000 for updated Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) testing and early management of test-detected prostate cancer clinical guidelines, to promote early detection and treatment of prostate cancer “as identified in the National Men’s Health Strategy 2020-2030, and improve health outcomes for Australian men.”
PCFA’s Chairman, Adjunct Associate Professor Stephen Callister, said this would help to save thousands of men’s lives over the next decade.
“Australia has one of the highest rates of prostate cancer in the world, with one in every six Australian men likely to be diagnosed by age 85," he said.
“Over 18,000 men will be diagnosed with the disease this year and 3,323 will die. It’s a tragic toll that can be avoided if the disease is diagnosed before it spreads.
“The current guidelines, published in 2016, are poorly understood by most Australians and need to be updated based on the latest evidence.
“We welcome the Government’s funding for a review of the current guidelines and we look forward to commencing this work immediately,” he said.
The number of men who will die of prostate cancer over the next 15 years would fill the Sydney Cricket Ground, according to PCFA.
Many of these deaths are avoidable.
PCFA’s CEO, Anne Savage, welcomed the funding in response to PCFA’s advocacy.
“Detected at its earliest stage, the five-year relative survival rate for prostate cancer is nearly 100 per cent,” said PCFA CEO Anne Savage.
“This means if we detect it while the cancer is contained within the prostate, we can almost certainly defeat it for good.
“This is a great step forward for thousands of Australian men and families who are at risk of prostate cancer and currently living with the disease.
“A recent PCFA survey found that 75 per cent of Australians do not know the guidelines, which means many men simply don’t know their risks or what to do about those risks.
“If we can diagnose all men at the earliest stage and ensure they have access to new medicines and care, we can beat this disease.
“For men with a family history of the disease, we need to give much clearer guidance about their risks and screening options. This funding will allow us to step up and take necessary action to ensure Australian men do not die before their time,” she said.
The Federal Government’s investment in cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment
The 2022-2023 Budget allocated $893.5 million in services that it says will “improve the health outcomes and survival rates of Australians from a range of life-threatening cancers.
Cancer is the leading cause of death by disease in adults and children in Australia overall, exceeding ischaemic heart disease, dementia and cerebral vascular disease.
Many Australians have delayed vital cancer screening checks because of COVID-19, and many services closed during prolonged lockdowns.
“Every year almost 20,000 Australian men are diagnosed and 3,300 men die with prostate cancer,” said the Department of Health’s budgetary statement.
“Prostate cancer is the second most common cause of male cancer deaths in Australia and the fourth most common cause of male deaths overall. Updating the PSA Testing and Early Management of Test-Detected Prostate Cancer Guidelines will ensure that up-to-date evidence and clinical guidance on best practice care can be incorporated to assist with optimised treatment and management of prostate cancer patients.”