Australia has one of the highest rates of prostate cancer in the world with over 16,700 men expected to be diagnosed this year alone. Due to improved methods of detection, and a growing and ageing population, the number of men surviving long after diagnosis has been steadily increasing.
New research by Cancer Council NSW has found that over one third of long-term Australian prostate cancer survivors need more supportive care than they are getting. The team conducted a 15-year follow-up survey with eligible men diagnosed with prostate cancer between 2000 and 2002.
Around 37% of men participating in a recent study reported at least one unmet supportive care need 15 years on from their diagnosis.
Associate Professor David Smith from Cancer Council NSW says, “This latest research shows that a significant proportion of these men are still suffering the consequences of prostate cancer more than a decade after diagnosis and don’t feel they are getting the support they need.”
“In a previous study, we found that men diagnosed with prostate cancer are at a 70% increased risk of suicide than other men.
“This paper has shown there is a real need to start regularly assessing and managing the physical and mental effects of prostate cancer and related treatment on survivors, as we see these issues have now translated into long-term needs that remained unsatisfied in the current study.
“We need to be better at talking with men about the common mental health and quality of life concerns during treatment and disease management. This will allow us to identify those men struggling in the wake of their prostate cancer diagnosis and ultimately help to normalise conversations around these issues.”
The paper also found men could be better supported by regularly assessing and managing the physical and mental effects of prostate cancer and related treatment, as these issues can translate into long-term needs.
These findings highlight the pressing need for clinicians to work better together to coordinate prostate cancer care, and for men affected by prostate cancer to actively enquire about and support.
We encourage any men reading this to call the 13 11 20 Information and Support Line if you are experiencing any concerns related to prostate cancer.