17 November 2023

The Albanese Government is taking action on Australia’s most commonly diagnosed cancer, investing $35.4M over fours year to 2026-27 towards the employment of 80 Prostate Cancer Specialist Nurses around the country.  

The funding will support Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia’s world-leading specialist nursing service, helping to bridge the gap in care between city and country areas.  

More than 25,000 Australian men are newly diagnosed with prostate cancer every year.

Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia Chief Executive, Anne Savage, welcomed the announcement.

“Australia has one of the highest rates of prostate cancer in the world, with one in every five Australian men likely to be diagnosed by age 85.

“This vital support for Australia’s Prostate Cancer Specialist Nursing workforce will improve outcomes for those impacted and lift the quality of care available in regional and remote communities.

“Importantly, 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.”

The funding continues Labor Government support for the program, which began with expansion of the service from 12 to 26 nurses in 2013.

Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia’s Director of Nursing, Adjunct Professor Sally Sara, said the new funding would employ nurses across at least 78 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.

“At the same time, 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 Chairman Adjunct Associate Professor Steve Callister commended the Government’s investment.

“The Specialist Nursing program run by PCFA returns a net social benefit to the community of $1.65 for every dollar invested, as follows:

  • An improvement in Health-Related Quality of Life valued at over $25 million.
  • Almost $6 million in reduced ED presentations and hospitalisations.
  • Almost $7 million in reductions in clinical consulting time.
  • Over $4 million in reductions in nurse practitioner coordination time.
  • A 60% reduction in ED presentations and hospitalisations.
  • A 58% reduction in clinical consult times.
  • A 64% reduction in missed medical appointments.

“Impressively, the Commonwealth-funded Prostate Cancer Specialist Nursing Service has provided over 400,000 occasions of care over the past nine years, with around half of those for patients who live more than 100kms from a major city.”

PCFA’s Commonwealth and community funded Prostate Cancer Specialist Nursing Service now comprises 110 nurses at 90 different locations nationwide.

Quotes attributable to the Health Minister:

“Prostate cancer is the leading cause of cancer in this country, and the Albanese Government is committed to taking action to improve earlier detection and treatment of the disease.

“More than 25,000 Australian men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year, and more than 3,700 will die from the disease.

“Prostate cancer nurses are invaluable to patients who are confronting some of their toughest days.

“That’s why the Albanese Government is making the biggest investment in cancer nurses on record, backed by our landmark Australian Cancer Plan.

Only around 36% of Australian men are currently diagnosed at Stage 1, when the disease is easier to treat. The Government’s investment in Australia’s Prostate Cancer Specialist Nursing workforce will play a key role in earlier detection of the disease.



Key figures:

  • Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australia.
  • 25,487 Australian men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2023.
  • 3,743 Australian men will die from prostate cancer in 2023.
  • 70 Australian men are diagnosed each day with prostate cancer.
  • 10 Australian men will die each day from the disease.
  • 250,000 Australian men are alive today after a diagnosis of prostate cancer.
  • Men diagnosed with prostate cancer have a 95% chance of surviving for five years compared to their counterparts in the general Australian population.
  • Between 1982–1987 and 2012–2016, five-year relative survival for prostate cancer improved from 58% to 95%.

Detailed data:

  • Prostate cancer is the 2nd most common cause of cancer-related death among men.
  • Prostate cancer will cause an estimated 12% of all male deaths from cancer in 2020.
  • The estimated risk of a man being diagnosed with prostate cancer by age 85 is 1 in 5.
  • The estimated risk of a man dying from prostate cancer by his 85th birthday is 1 in 22.
  • The rate of men dying from prostate cancer has been gradually falling over the past 20 years.
  • Men living in regional or rural areas have a 24% higher rate of dying than those in cities.
  • Indigenous men with prostate cancer have a 50% higher risk of death from the disease.
  • By 2040 it is estimated that 372,000 Australian men – or 2.4% of the projected male population – will be living with prostate cancer.

Mental health impacts of disease:

  • 1 in 5 men with prostate cancer will develop anxiety and depression.
  • 72% of men with prostate cancer will not seek help for distress.
  • 67% of men with prostate cancer have unmet information needs.
  • Men with prostate cancer face a 70% increased risk of suicide.

A 10-year study of Australian men affected by prostate cancer has found significant numbers of men have lower life satisfaction and experience long-term impairments to quality of life, whereby 35 to 40% of men experience poorer physical and mental quality of life outcomes and life satisfaction 10 years after the diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer.