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Prostate cancer specialist nursing program receives $34.5m boost

The Government has committed $34.5 million towards employing 86 prostate cancer specialist nurses around Australia over four years starting in 2026.

More than 25,000 Australian men are newly diagnosed with prostate cancer each year, making it the most common cancer, and 3,743 men will die from prostate cancer in 2023.

It is the second most common cause of cancer-related death among men behind lung cancer.

The Albanese Government says prostate cancer nurses play a vital role in supporting patients and early detection of the disease.

“Only around 36% of Australian men are currently diagnosed at Stage 1, when the disease is easier to treat,” said Health Minister, Mark Butler.

The Director of Nursing at the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia, Adjunct Professor Sally Sara, said the new funding would employ nurses across at least 76 different health services or cancer centres.

“With an ageing and increasing population, the number of newly diagnosed Australian men continues to grow at an accelerating rate,” she said.

“Treatment has become more complex, and many men will require ongoing treatment in the months and years after their initial diagnosis.

“While survival rates have improved, these gains haven’t been shared equally, with significantly higher mortality rates among regional men and Indigenous Australians.”

PCFA runs a Commonwealth-funded specialist prostate cancer nursing program that has cared for more than 400,000 patients over the past nine years, half of whom live more than 100 kilometres from the city.

“The funding package will give 3 in 4 newly diagnosed men access to a specialist nurse close to home, which is a game-changing investment in saving lives,” said PCFA chief executive, Anne Savage.

Facts and Figures about Prostate Cancer in Australia (via PCFA)

  1. Prostate cancer is the most diagnosed cancer in Australia
  2. 25,487 Australian men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2023
  3. 3,743 Australian men will die from prostate cancer in 2023
  4. 70 Australian men are diagnosed each day with prostate cancer
  5. 10 Australian men will die each day from the disease
  6. Men diagnosed with prostate cancer have a 95% chance of surviving for five years compared to their counterparts in the general Australian population.
  7. Men living in regional or rural areas have a 25% higher rate of dying than those in cities
  8. Indigenous men with prostate cancer have a 50% higher risk of death from the disease.
  9. Men with cancer face a 70% increased risk of suicide.
  10. By 2040, it is estimated that 372,000 Australian men – or 2.4% of the projected male population – will be living with prostate cancer.

The Labor Government began funding the Specialist Nursing Program in 2013, when the service expanded from 12-26 nurses.

Further reading
More funding needed to fight prostate cancer say experts (AMHF, Feb 2023)

Low awareness can be lethal: Prostate cancer coalition calls for action

The man who fell through every prostate cancer safety net (Financial Review – paywall)

Not all high-grade prostate cancers are the same (PCFA)

Read: When prostate cancer joins you in the bedroom (AMHF) 


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