In Australia, prostate cancer kills more than 2,700 men each year - thats around the same number of women who die from breast cancer
September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, a time when Australians are encouraged to recognise the prevalence of prostate cancer, and take simple steps that could save the lives of many Australian men.
In Australia, 12,000 cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed each year, and tragically, more than 2,700 Australian men die from prostate cancer annually. Although this is around the same number of Australian women who die from breast cancer each year, men are still reluctant to talk to their doctor about this all-too-common disease.
During Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia says there is no need for Australian men to be dying of embarrassment. It encourages men, particularly those aged over 50-years to talk to their doctor about prostate cancer, even if they dont think they are experiencing symptoms.
Mr Andrew Giles, Chief Executive Officer of the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia says that men over 50 need to realise prostate cancer is something that can happen to them. The fact is that a man with no family history of prostate cancer still has a 1 in 12 risk of developing the disease in his lifetime.
"Its important for men, particularly those aged over 50 to recognise prostate cancer as a health issue and address it with their doctor because, if detected in the early stages, prostate cancer is often treatable and curable. However, diagnosis is often delayed because there are very few symptoms in these early stages."
"This is why we encourage men, particularly those aged over 50, not to wait until they experience symptoms. Be proactive and make talking to your doctor about prostate cancer a priority on your check-up check-list," said Andrew Giles.
When symptoms of prostate cancer do develop, they can include:
· The need to urinate frequently, particularly at night;
· Sudden urges to urinate;
· Difficulty in starting urine flow;
· A slow, interrupted flow and dribbling afterwards, or;
· Blood in the urine or semen and pain during urination.
However, these symptoms are not always a sign of prostate cancer. They can also be symptoms of other common, and non-life threatening prostate disorders. Men who experience these symptoms should consult their GP immediately to determine the cause and best treatment.
Testing for prostate cancer can be carried out by a GP, with two simple options currently available.
· The Digital Rectal Examination (DRE) involves the doctor using a finger to feel the prostate gland. This test may detect hard lumps in the prostate before symptoms occur.
· The Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) blood test measures the amount of PSA in the blood. Around 1/3 of men with an elevated PSA reading will have prostate cancer. Other harmless prostate conditions account for the rest.
Mr Giles says, "Australian men shouldnt be dying of embarrassment. Simply talking to your doctor about prostate cancer could make the world of difference. It could save your life."
For more information about prostate cancer, talk to your GP or contact the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia by phoning its toll free number, 1800 22 00 99, or visit www.prostate.org.au