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Urologists warn men not to ignore signs of prostate cancer

With case numbers set to soar, all men, especially seniors, should be aware of the symptoms and treatments.

  • Health
  • Read Time: 4 mins

Five risk factors

  1. Age. The chance of developing prostate cancer increases with age. 

  2. Family history. If you have a first-degree male relative who developed prostate cancer, like a brother or father, your risk is higher than someone without such family history.

  3. Genetics. While prostate cancer can’t be inherited, a man can inherit certain genes that increase the risk. 

  4. Diet. Some evidence suggests that a diet high in processed meat, or foods high in fat can increase the risk of developing prostate cancer. 

  5. Lifestyle. Environment and lifestyle can also impact your risk – for example, a sedentary lifestyle or being exposed to chemicals. 

The Urological Society of Australia and New Zealand (USANZ) is warning that too many high-risk younger Australian men are in the dark about their prostate cancer risk as a new report predicts cases to double by 2040.  

The Lancet Commission on Prostate Cancer suggests cases worldwide will soar from 1.4 million to 2.9 million over the next 20 years.  

USANZ Genitourinary Oncology Special Advisory Group deputy leader, Associate Professor Weranja Ranasinghe, has long experience with prostate cancer, including diagnosing a friend with the condition.  

Associate Professor Ranasinghe said although the findings are alarming, Australia is well-placed to manage the spike thanks to the availability of advanced diagnostic tools, improvements in treatments, and quality control registries. 

However, all this needs to be coupled with more awareness.  

“Australia is better placed than many other nations to deal with a sharp spike in prostate cancer cases, but the urgent review of guidelines can’t come soon enough,” he said. 

“Prostate cancer is not commonly understood or spoken about, particularly amongst high-risk younger men, leaving too many in the dark about their cancer risk and that can be deadly. 

“Prostate cancer is already a major cause of death and disability, and the most common form of male cancer in more than 100 countries. 

“It’s the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australia with over 25,000 new cases every year, and more than 11 deaths a day.” 

Case study

Associate Professor Ranasinghe has a weekly squash lesson with Melbourne player and coach Malcolm McClarty. 

Malcolm had been experiencing frequent pain in his right hip area for about 12 months before he mentioned it to another of his clients, a top medical oncologist, in October last year. 

Having lost his younger sister to pancreatic cancer just months earlier, the 63-year-old father-of-three had been brushing off the pain, thinking it was a niggling sporting injury.  

Malcolm credits the oncologist who ordered a prostate-specific antigen test (PSA), with saving his life. 

Malcolm was devastated to learn his cancer was aggressive Stage Four and had spread to three spots in the pelvic bone. Malcolm also experienced other symptoms including frequent and weak flow urinating at night. 

He will begin radiotherapy, with chemotherapy on the cards as well. But his attitude is positive, he’s hoping to live for another six to 10 years.  

Malcolm’s message for other men is simple; if you’re 50 or older get tested for prostate cancer now. He warns waiting can lead to complex and limited treatment options. 

More information at

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