Update on Prostate Cancer by Dr Michael Hanson

June 12, 2022

Men’s Health Week is 13 – 19 June, and this year we are raising awareness about prostate cancer. Around 18,000 new cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed in Australia every year. It is the most common cancer in men aside from skin cancer. One in 6 men will be diagnosed by the age of 85.


EARLY prostate cancer does not typically cause symptoms and can usually only be detected by screening (see more information below).

ADVANCED prostate cancer symptoms can include:

  • frequent urination
  • pain while urinating
  • blood in the urine or semen
  • a weak urinal stream
  • pain in the back or pelvis
  • weak legs or feet.

Risk factors

  • Age, risk higher > 50 years old. 63% of cases diagnosed in men over 65.
  • Family history of prostate, breast or ovarian cancer, especially BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations.


Regular screening and early detection ensures the best possible outcomes. There is also evidence that regular physical activity can be protective and improve overall health.


Because early prostate cancer is asymptomatic, it is important for men aged 50 – 70 years to undertake screening via their GP (usually just a blood test).

A prostate specific antigen (PSA) blood test measures the proteins made by both normal and cancerous prostate cells. Your GP may use results from more than one blood test, over time, to help determine your risk.


Depending on your risk, symptoms and the results of PSA screening, your GP may arrange a clinical examination, scans and/or a referral to specialist.


Men with low-risk prostate cancer may only need to be regularly and carefully monitored. If the cancer is progressing, surgery or radiation therapy may be recommended.

While five-year survival rate is quite high (95.5%), men with prostate cancer experience a range of effects from their disease and its treatment, including depression, anxiety, urinary incontinence, and impairments in sexual and bowel function. Your GP can help identify these problems and offer treatment or referral to specific services to better manage these issues.

For more information visit the Cancer Council.