This Men’s Health Week, Cancer Council NSW encourages men affected by prostate cancer to seek support
A new study by Cancer Council NSW has found that over 60,000 NSW men – patients and survivors – are alive today with a previous diagnosis of prostate cancer. The number has risen by about 60%, from 38,322 in 2007 to 60,910 in 2017.
“The increase is a result of Australia’s growing and ageing population, and highlights the need for providing this part of the population with the care and support that they need,” explained Associate Professor David Smith, Senior Research Fellow at Cancer Council NSW.
The two largest groups of survivors in 2017 are men over 75 years of age (52% or 32,000 men), and younger patients who have completed their initial treatment, but require monitoring (42.5%).
The fact that the majority of men affected by prostate cancer are over 75 years old highlights the importance of including the elderly population in studies of cancer survivors.
“The results are relevant for health services to estimate the future requirements for prostate cancer patients,” A/Prof Smith continued.
The second largest group of survivors are men under 75 years of age who need monitoring after having undergone treatment.
“It is common to assume that once cancer survivors complete their active treatment, their health care needs are the same as the rest of the population, but often, unmet needs persist,” A/Prof Smith said.
The study findings coincide with Men’s Health Week. This year’s theme is ‘Healthy Body, Healthy Mind’, and Cancer Council NSW encourages prostate cancer patients and survivors to use its support services.
“For example, 13 11 20 is a confidential service where people affected by cancer and their families and friends can speak to a specialist cancer professional about anything to do with cancer,” said Hannah Baird, Lead Supportive Care Manager at Cancer Council NSW.
“A lot of the prostate cancer patients and survivors who call 13 11 20 want to talk about emotional or psychological issues related to their diagnosis.”
For people who prefer to speak with someone who has gone through a similar journey, Cancer Connect volunteers provide peer support to patients.
“In NSW, we currently have 15 Cancer Connect volunteers that support men diagnosed with prostate cancer.
“These are just two of our services. Men affected by prostate cancer can also watch our survivorship webinars – a number of them specifically focused on men’s health – or participate in our ENRICHing Survivorship program.
“We encourage anyone who wants to find out more to call 13 11 20 to see how Cancer Council NSW can best support them and their families,” Ms Baird concluded.
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Media contact: Isabelle Dubach, Cancer Council NSW, T: (02) 9334 1872 M: 0401 524 321, firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to editor
About the study
- “Phase of care prevalence for prostate cancer in New South Wales, Australia: a population-based modelling study” is a paper by Cancer Council NSW researchers, published in PLOS ONE.
- Prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer among Australian men, and as the population grows and ages, it is expected that the number of men diagnosed with this disease will continue to increase.
- 1160 NSW men are likely to die from prostate cancer in 2017.
- The study’s goal was to develop a method for estimating the future numbers of prostate cancer survivors requiring different levels of care – in order to provide a meaningful and useful measure to inform health care planning.
- The study is designed to be a tool for planning future cancer care services and facilities, with the goal of improving the cancer experience for survivors, their caregivers and families.
- The study used a well-established, long-standing Australian population-based cancer registry.
- The study projected numbers from 2008 – 2017. The researchers divided the group into two groups – men over 75 years of age, and men younger than 75.
- The younger group was then further divided into two phase of care groups: the initial care phase and the monitoring phase (i.e. patients who survived for more than a year since diagnosis.)