The Movember Foundation contributes to research for initiatives that raise awareness about prostate cancer, improve men's knowledge on when and how to take action, whether they should participate in screening , improve decision making and assist in an active recovery from prostate cancer treatments. The aim is to contribute towards having fewer men die from prostate cancer and improve the quality of life for those with the disease. Currently in Australia 3000 men die every year from prostate cancer.

The causes of prostate cancer are not fully understood. There are known factors increasing an individual's risk of developing the disease

  • Increasing age
  • A strong family history of prostate cancer (having one close relative with prostate cancer diagnosed under 65years of age) Information for men with a family history of prostate cancer is available at
  • Diet : there is some evidence that a diet high in processed meats or saturated fats increases risk
  • Lifestyle factors such and amount of exercise and obesity

The Tests for Prostate Cancer

  • Blood test for PSA. This is a controversial screening test because there are other causes for elevated levels , there is debate about what level is normal and abnormal, it does not determine the difference between slow growing cancers and those that are not.
  • Digital rectal examination. It is no longer recommended in addition to PSA testing for screening
  • Prostate Biopsy. May be recommended to investigate an elevated or rapidly rising PSA measurement. it is needed to confirm whether prostate cancer is present.
  • Imaging. This may include a transrectal ultrasound, CT scan or MRI

The New Australian Guidelines regarding Prostate Cancer screening support informed decision making about whether to undertake a prostate screening blood test based on individual circumstances. Cancer screening is undertaken to detect a disease early, before any signs or symptoms develop. There has been debate over many years about the benefit of screening for prostate cancer because many prostate cancers detected are slow growing and would never cause problems, but testing for and treating these cancers can cause harm to the man. Population-based screening has not been recommended because of these issues and there is no National population-based screening program as there is for bowel or breast cancer.

For men aged 50-69 (without a family history of prostate cancer) the benefit/harm debate for prostate screening using the PSA test is unclear and open to individual interpretation. For 1000 men in this age group:

Without annual PSA screening over 11 years

  • 5 men die from prostate cancer
  • 190 men die from other causes
  • 55 men alive with symptomatic prostate cancer, 782 men alive with no prostate cancer

With annual PSA screening over 11 years

  • 4 men die from prostate cancer, 1 man possibly saved through screening
  • 190 men die from other causes
  • 55 men alive with symptomatic prostate cancer, 715 men alive with no prostate cancer
  • 87 men learned after biopsy their PSA result was a false positive

  • 28 men have side effects that require healthcare or hospitalisation after a biopsy
  • 25 men will choose to have a treatment due to an uncertainty about which cancers need to be treated
  • 37 men with an elevated PSA were found to have slow-growing cancers
  • 7-10 men who have treatment will experience impotence and/or urinary incontinence or bowel problems. 0.5 men could have a heart attack due to treatment

National Cancer Institute. Prostate cancer treatment ( PDQ) - patient version . Available from

Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia



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