18 November 2021
The nation’s peak body in the fight against prostate cancer has announced a bold new vision to save the lives of over 16,000 men within five years, issuing a call to arms to double funding for prostate cancer research in Australia.
More Australian men are diagnosed with prostate cancer than any other cancer, but the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia (PCFA) says prostate cancer research only gets half the funding of some other major cancers.
PCFA Chief Executive Professor Jeff Dunn AO, says doubling research could help wipe out deaths from the disease within two decades, saving the lives of over 3,000 Australian men every year.
“Prostate cancer is a major cause of death in Australian men. It is a disease that claims the lives of nine men every day and costs the health system around $500 million to treat.
“Our fathers and sons are dying before their time of a disease that can be defeated. Their deaths are avoidable. We stand at the doorway to curative treatments and better detection methods, but we must boost research funding today to save lives tomorrow,” Prof Dunn said.
To coincide with the announcement, PCFA has launched Australia’s first Giving Day for prostate cancer, and will match all donations up to $250,000 for one day only, on Thursday November 25.
“Prostate cancer is one of the greatest threats to the future health of Australian men, and research holds the key to beating it. Deaths from prostate cancer are avoidable, but we cannot stop the pain of prostate cancer without community and government support,” Prof Dunn said.
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare data shows that only 36 percent of prostate cancers are detected at Stage 1, when the disease is easier to beat. It is one of the lowest rates of early detection for major cancers.
“What concerns us greatly is that about 15 percent of men are diagnosed at Stages 3 or 4, when hope for survival is poor.
“And while five-year relative survival rate for Stage 1 prostate cancer is almost 100 percent, this rate falls to 36 percent at Stage 4 – which means only 1 in 3 of those men will live for another five years.
“Men are dying on our watch,” he said, “But with a doubling of funding for research, we can eradicate deaths from prostate cancer within our lifetime, by 2040.”
PCFA has also called for a review of the nation’s Clinical Guidelines on PSA Testing.
“Many men are completely unaware that they are at risk of prostate cancer, and believe it won’t affect them.
“Tragically, we’ve seen a 10 percent increase in the number of men dying from prostate cancer between 2016, when the guidelines were launched, and today.1
“Our concern is that Australia’s existing guidelines do not reflect current evidence - they are five years old and based on outdated data,” Prof Dunn said.
“The cold fact is, under the current guidelines, many men are being given incorrect advice about their prostate cancer risks and screening options.
“We are tremendously worried for the many hundreds of thousands of Australian men may be completely unaware that their family history of prostate cancer places them at double or five times the risk of a diagnosis.
“We must act now to save their lives.”
People can register to become a Giving Day Hero via pcfagivingday.org.au.
To find out more about your risks and screening options, call PCFA’s Specialist Telenursing Service on 1800 22 00 99 or go to www.pcfa.org.au.
Media contact: Laura McKoy | M. 0435 094 788