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Alarming prostate cancer spike in Australia



The number of men dying from prostate cancer has jumped by 25 per cent in the last 20 years and health officials are worried diagnoses of the disease is set to skyrocket.

Data just released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare estimated 25,487 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year, an increase of around five per cent in just 12 months.

In the same period, the number of deaths have jumped from 3507 to 3743 – more than 10 deaths a day.

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A microscope image shows changes in cells which are indicative of prostate cancer.

With nearly 70 Australian men now diagnosed daily, the peak body for prostate cancer is demanding more needs to be done to improve early detection.

Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia (PCFA) chairman Steve Callister said only around 36 per cent of prostate cancers in Australia are detected at "Stage 1", when the disease can be more effectively treated.

"Early detection is key to survival," Callister said.

"With more than 10 Australian men dying every day from prostate cancer, we must do everything in our power to prevent late diagnosis."

He called on the government to boost community awareness activity to improve understanding of the disease.

Prostate cancer begins when abnormal cells in the prostate start growing in an uncontrolled way.

Aside from common skin cancers, it is the most common cancer in Australian men.

Common symptoms can include a sudden need to urinate, getting up in the night to use the bathroom or blood in urine or semen.

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A doctor examines a scan

The foundation said 75 per cent of Australians do not know about PSA test guidelines, a blood test which is used to screen for prostate cancer.

PCFA chief executive Anne Savage said the number of men being diagnosed will continue to skyrocket because of Australia's aging and increasing population.

New medicines and treatments must be available more rapidly, Savage said.

"Over 3700 Australian men will die of prostate cancer this year," she said.

"With concerted action, many of these deaths can be avoided."

If you are concerned contact the Cancer Council at or Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia

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