16 March 2015

A new international review* led by Cancer Council Queensland has found survival outcomes for men diagnosed with prostate cancer are strongly associated with where they live.

The research, funded by the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia, involved a review of Australian and international studies and found consistent disparities in the outcomes of men diagnosed with prostate cancer in urban or affluent areas compared to those diagnosed in rural or disadvantaged areas.

Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift said substantial and increasing gaps in prostate cancer survival were a cause for local, national and global action.

"Our review found consistent evidence internationally that men living in urban areas had higher rates of PSA testing, higher prostate cancer incidence, a lower risk of advanced prostate cancer and better survival," Ms Clift said.

"Those living in affluent areas generally also had greater access to or use of medical services and lower mortality than men living in rural or disadvantaged areas across a range of countries.

"These gaps in prostate cancer survival, access to treatment and quality of life are occurring internationally, as well as in Australia, and are a cause for concern.

"We urgently need to design targeted interventions to address the gaps and reduce the disparities, to ensure better outcomes for all men diagnosed with prostate cancer – regardless of where they live.

"Before we do this, however, we need to better understand the reasons why these inequalities exist and ensure that the interventions designed to reduce these disparities are based on best evidence."

Around 4000 Queensland men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year alone, and about 650 will die from the disease.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in Queensland, making up 28 per cent of all male cancers.

Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift urged men to see their GP about their individual risk so they can make an informed choice about prostate cancer testing.

"Men in at-risk groups, particularly those over 50 or with a family history, need to be proactive about prostate cancer," Ms Clift said.

"It's imperative that they see their GP or call the Cancer Council Helpline on 13 11 20 for information about their risks and options.

"Queenslanders who have questions about prostate cancer can also go to cancerqld.org.au for information on early detection and screening."

More information about Cancer Council Queensland is available via 13 11 20 or cancerqld.org.au.

* Geographic disparities in prostate cancer outcomes – review of international patterns, Baade et al. Asia Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention, 2015.