The most common cancer in Australian men

Prostate cancer develops when an abnormal growth of cells occurs in the prostate—a small walnut-shaped gland that produces seminal fluid. One in six men are at a risk of developing prostate cancer by the age of 85.

Symptoms

In the initial stages, prostate cancer has no signs or symptoms. However, a more advanced case may have the following symptoms:

  • frequent urination
  • pain on urination
  • blood in semen or urine
  • pain in the back or pelvis
  • erectile dysfunction.

When to see a doctor

Seek medical attention if you have any symptoms that worry you.

The risks for prostate cancer include:

  • increasing age
  • family history
  • a diet high in fat or processed meat
  • lifestyle factors.

Diagnosis of prostate cancer may include one or more of the following tests:

  • prostate-specific antigen blood test
  • biopsy
  • ultrasound, CT, MRI.

Treatment for prostate cancer depends on several factors, such as how fast the cancer is growing, potential benefits and side effects of the treatment. Common therapeutic options include:

  • active surveillance: if immediate treatment is not necessary, your prostate cancer will be monitored using blood tests, 6-monthly rectal examinations, MRI scans and annual biopsies.
  • surgery to remove the prostate, using a robot to assist with the surgery
  • radiation therapy
  • hormone therapy.

After a diagnosis is confirmed, a detailed clinical assessment is carried out by an expert multidisciplinary team.

Your case will be presented at a multidisciplinary team meeting with collaborative discussion about the best possible treatment and outcomes for the case specific to your tumour. After the meeting, your specialists will meet with you to discuss their recommendations and provide a detailed explanation of possible treatment options.

The final decision regarding the treatment and care plan is made in consultation with you. Cancer specialists work collaboratively to develop an individualised care plan for you and they are supported by oncology nurses and allied health professionals.

You can reduce the risk of prostate cancer if you:

  • increase your intake of fruits and vegetables
  • stay active and healthy
  • maintain a healthy weight.

The Faculty of Medicine, Health and Human Sciences is currently running several clinical trials that are evaluating new treatments for prostate cancer.

Find out more about our prostate cancer research.

We are also doing research on ways to improve prostate cancer diagnosis so that we can determine the best course of treatment.

Read about our research.

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Last updated: 19 Sep 2022