Huge drop in prostate cancer testing a big concern for Aussie men
Professor Tony Costello, a pioneer in mens prostate cancer treatment after performing the first open radical prostatectomy using robotic surgery in Australia in 2003, fears a dramatic increase in prostate cancer as testing levels bottom out with COVID-19 restrictions and delayed treatment.
In the past six months PSA testing in Australia - a crucial marker for prostate cancer - has fallen dramatically by more than 15 percent, with a similar drop in the number of biopsies carried out compared to the same time period in 2019.
Urologist Professor Tony Costello and Clinical Advisor of Maxwell Plus (maxwellplus.com) said many GPs are following current guidelines and not proactively discussing prostate cancer with patients, so many men are unaware they could be at risk.
“Often doctors will only discuss prostate cancer when a patient specifically asks for testing and even then may advise against it - meaning too many Australian men are not being diagnosed with the fatal disease until it’s too late,” said Prof Costello.
“If men have a blood test in their 40s to get a baseline PSA and then annually from the age of 50 they will have the best chance of detecting prostate cancer early,” he said.
“Prostate cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in Australian men, claiming nearly 3,500 lives last year, more than breast cancer, because of late diagnosis.”
Maxwell Plus Founder and CEO Elliot Smith said doctors are embracing telehealth technology to help manage their patients’ risk of prostate cancer, especially during covid when people are reluctant to visit their GP unless it is an emergency.
“We are also able to better serve rural and regional Australia - where men have a 21 percent higher mortality rate than men in capital cities.”
“Ultimately, what we’re aiming to achieve is that every man who ends up with prostate cancer is diagnosed early enough that all options are in front of him, and men don’t need to go through unnecessary testing,” said Mr Smith.