A new report released by national government agency, Cancer Australia, has revealed some concerning statistics around medical services affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The report, Review of the impact of Covid-19 on medical services and procedures in Australia utilising MBS data: Lung and prostate cancers, shows notable national reduce in services for a range of both diagnostic and therapeutic procedures during the initial Covid-19 period, March to May 2020.
In response to the report, men’s health charity, Movember, urges anyone with concerns about their prostate cancer risk to seek medical advice.
This is particularly important for anyone experiencing prostate cancer symptoms, including:
- Difficulty urinating.
- Blood in urine.
- Blood in semen.
According to Movember spokesperson, Jane Endacott, continuing to seek regular medical care, even during the Covid-19 pandemic, is important because “early detection is key to successful treatment”.
“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,” says Ms Endacott.
“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.”
Ms Endacott explains that while prostate cancer risk increases with age, “men who are African or Caribbean descent, and those who have a family history … 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,” she says.
For those with already diagnosed with prostate cancer, who may have missed appointments due to Covid-19 Ms Endacott implores those men to “immediately recommence those follow up appointments”.
About prostate cancer
Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men in Australia, with more than eight men dying from the disease every day.
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.
For more information or to donate to the charity, visit: au.movember.com/