Prostate Cancer boss calls for screening guidelines to be updated
With $1.7 million raised to support men and families impacted by prostate cancer through the 2021 Long Run, the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia says current guidelines for prostate cancer screening need to be updated.
PCFA CEO Professor Jeff Dunn told 2GB radio host Ray Hadley on Friday October 1, “We are pushing hard.”
“The current ones are five years old and I can assure you there has been so much change in terms of evidence and treatment in five years. 75% of Australians at least don’t know they exist and don’t understand them. They are not uniformly applied. We need to revise the guidelines and raise awareness.”
PCFA offers a telenursing service to provide advice to people dealing with prostate cancer. “Those most at risk are the least likely to call our telephone nursing service,” Professor Dunn said.
He said 230,000 men in Australia were currently living with the disease. “For each and every one of those, every direct male family member – sons, brothers, and in some cases fathers, are at double the risk of developing prostate cancer than the general population. And most of them don’t know that.
“If you’ve got more than one close family member that has been impacted by prostate cancer, it’s five times the risk. We need to make sure that men are aware of this, and that families are aware of it.”
While prostate cancer awareness month ended in September, PCFA is developing programs and services, targeting data from the Stargate website to show people the prevalence and mortality rates of prostate cancer in their area.
People can enter their postcode and instantly download a detailed fact sheet comparing prostate cancer rates with general statistics across Australia.
Professor Dunn stressed that survival rates for men who lived for at least five years after a prostate cancer diagnosis had improved from 60% to 95% in Australia.
“We are getting better at finding it early and treating it,” he said.
While most men diagnosed with prostate cancer are in their 60s, the disease can afflict men in their 40s or younger. “It’s not just a disease of age, younger people get this,” he said.
“If you’re a son of man who has been diagnosed with prostate cancer, you have a greater risk.”
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