Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men in Australia with almost 20,000 diagnoses and close to 3,500 deaths each year.
Prostate cancer testing can be a complex subject. All men over 50 – or over 40 if they have a family history – should talk with their GP about their prostate health.
According to the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia, here are 6 myths about prostate cancer that you should know.
1. Only old blokes get prostate cancer
Age and risk of developing prostate cancer are related. However, there are other factors like genetics, family history, diet and lifestyle that can play a role.
If you are a man over 50 (or 40 with a family history of prostate cancer) talk to your doctor about your prostate health.
2. Men don’t die of prostate cancer
Whilst approximately 95% of people diagnosed with prostate cancer survive for at least 5 years, around 3,500 Aussie men still die of prostate cancer annually.
Prostate cancer is estimated to be the 2nd most common cause of death from cancer in Australian men. If diagnosed early, the chances of a cure are higher.
3. All prostate cancers are the same
Research has shown that there are 29 types of prostate cancer. Prostate cancer can be indolent, harmless or of an aggressive nature. It can be contained within the prostate gland, spread to adjacent organs or to other parts of the body.
Therefore, treatment for each of these cancers is different. For best outcomes, speak to your doctor about your diagnosis and prostate cancer treatment choices.
4. If I talk to my GP about my prostate health, it will lead to a finger exam
A Digital Rectal Examination (DRE) is no longer the recommended first line test for prostate cancer. If you decide to get tested, then it is likely to be a simple blood test known as PSA test.
If PSA is elevated, your GP will recommend other tests to confirm a diagnosis of prostate cancer such as a biopsy and a Magnetic Resonance Imaging.
5. If my PSA is high, this means I have prostate cancer
A PSA test is not a cancer test. Prostate Specific Androgen is a protein produced by the prostate.
When there is a problem with the prostate, more PSA is released in the body, and a PSA test is used to detect PSA levels in the blood.
Higher than normal levels can be an indication of other medical conditions, such as an enlarged prostate or an infection in the prostate.
6. If I am diagnosed with prostate cancer, I must have my prostate removed
Surgery is only one of the treatment options available for localised prostate cancer. Knowledge is power.
Your specialist will talk with you about your treatment options, based on your individual diagnosis. If not sure, get a second opinion.
Getting a second opinion enables you to learn more about your cancer type and make the best-informed decisions about treatment.
International Prostate Cancer Awareness Month
September is International Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. The Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia is asking Australia to get involved in helping create awareness, and raise the much-needed funds to assist in the fight against prostate cancer.
Talk to your GP about your prostate health.