SEPTEMBER is prostate cancer awareness month and as such it’s timely to note that since 2007 there has been a 25 per cent increase in the number of deaths from the cancer.
Data just released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare estimates 25,487 Australian men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year, an increase of around five per cent in just 12 months.
In the same period, the number of deaths has jumped from 3,507 to 3,743 – more than 10 deaths a day.
With nearly 70 Australian men now diagnosed a day, the peak body for prostate cancer says more needs to be done to improve early detection.
Prostate Cancer Foundation’s Professor Steve Callister said the need for a public awareness campaign was never higher.
“Only around 36 per cent of prostate cancers in Australia are detected at Stage 1, when the disease can be more effectively treated,” he said.
“Early detection is key to survival, but to achieve higher rates of earlier detection we must have government and community support for awareness activity to improve understanding of the disease.
“With more than 10 Australian men dying every day from prostate cancer, we must do everything in our power to prevent late diagnosis and the tragic loss of so many of our fathers and sons.”
PCFA Head of Research, Professor Jeff Dunn said surveys had found that 75 per cent of Australians did not know the PSA test guidelines, an alarmingly high level of unawareness that impedes early detection and diminishes survival prospects.
“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 disease, we need to give much clearer guidance about their risks and screening options.
“Five-year survival is now at an all-time high, but this survival benefit is not enjoyed equally by all men, with disparities in regional areas and among those experiencing socio-economic disadvantage,” he said.
According to the new data, more than 250,000 Australian men are alive today after a diagnosis of prostate cancer at some point in the past 37 years.
NOTE: Ipswich Prostate Cancer Support Group will be holding three public information sessions in September. They will be at Bunnings at West Ipswich on Saturday, Sept 9. Ipswich Greyhound Racing Club on Saturday, Sept 16 and at Cascade Gardens at 6.30pm, Thursday, Sept 21. Contact: Dennis Ellis 0419 176 262