Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia releases new data on prostate cancer attitudes and awareness

Young Australian men are aware that prostate cancer is the most important health issue facing men but say they know little about the disease or what testing actually involves.

The 2013 Community Attitudes Survey, entitled Prostate Cancer: The Next Generation[i], marks the first time in eleven years that Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia (PCFA) has surveyed Australia's younger generation – focusing on men aged 18 to 50 years as opposed to the 40-74 age group as in previous years.

A survey of over 1,200 Australian men showed more than half (58%) of participants believed prostate cancer to be the most single important health issue facing men.

Although half (49%) believed men should be tested from age 40 onwards, 63% of this year's younger cohort said they know little about the procedures involved in prostate cancer testing.

Dr Anthony Lowe, Chief Executive Officer of PCFA, says the survey has confirmed more can be done to raise awareness about prostate cancer by communicating with men of all ages.

"We have gained a better understanding of the broader male population’s knowledge of prostate cancer by listening to the views of a younger age group," said Dr Lowe.

"We plan to be much more proactive with men under 40 years. If we educate men about prostate cancer from a younger age they will be in a better position to have open discussions about the disease with their friends, their doctor and their family."

Although significant numbers of men under age 50 either have been or are likely to be tested in the next 12 months, the survey results also confirmed that younger men seem more uncertain about prostate cancer testing than men over the age of 50.

Compared to last year's survey where nearly 40% of respondents said the information about prostate cancer testing is unclear, more than 70% of this year's respondents agreed that advice about testing was confusing.

Dr Lowe says PCFA will now look to address the key areas that have been highlighted in this year's report.

"We are working to improve the information and resources that are currently available to men so it is relevant for younger men and men in the 'high risk' age group. In addition, we are making great progress on the national clinical guidelines for PSA testing which will help to alleviate some of the uncertainty about testing."

The new report was officially launched by PCFA and Bayer last night at the Museum of Sydney. For a copy of the report click here.

[i] Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia 2013 Community Attitudes Survey.