Where are all the prostate cancers?

September is prostate cancer awareness month

New figures show that all cancer testing is down around Australia and the rest of the world. But what is really disturbing is that testing for prostate cancer is down significantly here in Victoria and for the rest of the country.

The impact of COVID on the health system has been huge. GP clinics have been under great pressure, making it hard to get appointments. Many people chose to avoid their usual check-ups.

The result – men may have missed their chance to have early detection of prostate cancer. For some men, by the time they have a check-up, or visit their GP with symptoms, they will discover that they have aggressive prostate cancer.

Joining GU Cast

I recently had the pleasure of joining the GU Podcast with urologists Professor Declan Murphy and Dr Renu Eapen. It was a great opportunity to check out their new podcasting kit – very impressive.

Dr Renu Eapen with Professor Declan Murphy. Two urologists sitting in a recording studio
Dr Renu Eapen and Professor Declan Murphy at the GU Cast control panel

Their other two guests were Professor Grant McArthur, Executive Director of the VCCC (Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre Alliance), and Anne Savage, CEO of PCFA (Prostate Cancer Foundation Australia) joining in via Zoom from Sydney.

Professor Grant McArthur and Alan White. Two men taking part in a podcast.
Professor Grant McArthur from VCCC with Alan White from The Prostate Zone at the microphones for GU Cast
Professor Declan Murphy and Dr Renu Eapen with Anne Savage on a Zoom screen. Two women and one man participating in a podcast.
Anne Savage from PCFA appearing on Zoom screen, watched by our happy GU Cast hosts, Renu Eapen and Declan Murphy

In Declan’s words –

It’s pretty shocking how many prostate cancers went missing during COVID, especially in Melbourne which experienced the most prolonged lockdown in the world. The data is still being cleaned but it is estimated that up to 3,000 men who would have been expected to be diagnosed with prostate cancer over the past 2.5 years, have not yet been diagnosed.

We were all there to discuss the missing prostate cancer diagnoses and how this problem might be countered.

To view the podcast, you can click on the video link below.

If you prefer to listen to the audio-only version, you can hear it on Buzzsprout.

It’s up to all of us to have a conversation with the men we know to see:-

  • How they’re travelling.
  • Are they taking care of themselves?
  • Are they having health check-ups for cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure?
  • Most importantly, are they keeping track of their PSA levels (including Free-to-Total PSA).

For those who want to know a little more about testing, Anne Savage shared a recent article from The Courier Mail with us.  You can download a copy by clicking here.

Because having healthy men is good for all of us.