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  • Movember response to cancer Australia report

    Author: Health Times

A report released today by national government agency Cancer Australia has shown a notable national reduction in services for a range of both diagnostic and therapeutic procedures during the initial COVID-19 period March to May 2020.

The report, Review of the impact of COVID-19 on medical services and procedures in Australia utilising MBS data: Lung and prostate cancers, focuses on examples of services affected over this time for prostate cancers with decreases in some total monthly services ranging between 25-41%.

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In response to the report, leading men’s health charity Movember has urged anyone with concerns about their prostate cancer risk, particularly if they are having symptoms such as difficulty urinating or blood in their urine or semen, to seek medical advice.

“Early detection is key to successful treatment but as there are often no symptoms until the disease is advanced, it can be tricky to spot,” Movember spokesperson Jane Endacott said.

“Fears around COVID-19 (or worries about bothering their GP at a time when health services are under pressure) has meant many men may not have had conversations with their doctor about their prostate cancer risk.

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“We’re worried this could mean that many men have their prostate cancer diagnosed too late – when it is more difficult to treat.

Early diagnosis of prostate cancer significantly increases survival rates and improved quality of life beyond cancer, so taking action early and having a conversation with your GP is vital for men in risk groups.”

She continued: “Your risk of developing prostate cancer increases with age. But men who are of African or Caribbean descent, and those who have a family history (a brother or father with prostate cancer), are 2.5 times more likely to get it.

“If you’re 50, you should be talking to your doctor about your prostate risk and whether you might need a PSA (prostate-specific antigen) blood test. If you’re of African or Caribbean descent or if you have a family history of the disease, you need to start that conversation at 45.

“For men that have already been diagnosed with prostate cancer and are having their disease monitored, we urge them to immediately recommence those follow up appointments.”

Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men in Australia, with more than 8 men dying from the disease every day in Australia. Indigenous Australians are more likely to present later with advanced disease and have poorer survival outcomes.

Movember has established the world’s largest network of prostate cancer patient registries which will have the power to transform treatment and care of the disease by harnessing the ‘real world’ experiences of over 130,000 men.

The global ‘super network’ – believed to be the first of its kind – will contain detailed clinical information on the diagnosis, treatment and survivorship of prostate cancer patients from over 15 countries.

Movember is aiming to grow the network to include data on 250,000 men within the next five years.

The data will enable prostate clinicians throughout the world to measure and benchmark the health of their patients after treatment, providing them with vital information to improve the quality of prostate cancer treatment and care.

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