05 April 2024

The number of prostate cancer cases diagnosed worldwide are likely to double from 1.4 million to 2.9 million per year between 2020 and 2040, according to new research published in The Lancet.

The figures form part of The Lancet Commission on Prostate Cancer, recommending early detection programs for men in high-income countries who face a high risk of the disease.

Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia has welcomed the report.

“This report leaves no doubt that new and improved early detection programs are needed globally,” said PCFA’s Chief of Mission and Head of Research, Professor Jeff Dunn AO.

“Notably, the report highlights the important role of MRI imaging for men at high risk of mortality from prostate cancer. According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, by 2032 nearly 30,000 Australian men will be newly diagnosed with prostate cancer each year.

“Without concerted action to detect high-risk cases of the disease early, many of these men will face an unacceptable risk of avoidable death.

“Australian action to introduce a more structured approach to the early detection of prostate cancer is urgently needed, with work underway to review the nation’s guidelines on PSA testing.”

The review is being led by Professor Dunn with Co-Chair, urologist Adjunct Professor Peter Heathcote.

“Prostate cancer represents a major threat to the health of Australian men and currently stands as the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the country,” Adjunct Professor Heathcote said.

“More than 25,000 men are newly diagnosed each year and 10 men tragically die from the disease every day. As our population ages and increases, with improving life expectancy, the number of men at risk of prostate cancer in Australia will significantly increase.

“It’s vital that we invest in programs to promote early detection among high-risk men and ensure these men and their families get the earliest possible access to world-leading clinical care and support.”

The guideline review is being led by PCFA, involving experts from around the country.

“By this time next year, we hope to launch a new way forward for Australian men and families impacted by prostate cancer. Around 630,000 Australian men face at least double the risk of a diagnosis due to their family history of the disease,” said PCFA’s CEO, Anne Savage.

“The introduction of a more structured approach to early detection, together with targeted investment in public awareness, can save many lives.

“The Lancet report is a call to action, and it’s a call we can’t ignore.”