Written by Emily James
September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, a nation-wide initiative to raise awareness of risks and treatment options available to men in Australia. Although there were an estimated 18 110 new cases of prostate cancer diagnosed in 2021, making up 23% of all male cancer cases diagnosed last year, the disease is often not discussed as much as other cancers.
Whether you’ve been diagnosed with prostate cancer, know someone with a diagnosis or are just interested in learning more about the disease, there are a range of things you can do to mark Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. We’ll go through a few of these in this article, and provide some extra resources to help you on your next steps:
- Learn more about prostate cancer
- Sign up for The Long Run
- Your next steps and where to find support
Learn more about prostate cancer
Despite the fact that 1 in 6 Australian men are diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime, 75% of Australians don’t know the PSA (Prostate-specific antigen) test guidelines. Although there is a 96% chance of surviving at least five years after an early diagnosis, the stage in which prostate cancer can be effectively treated, only 36% of prostate cancer cases are detected at this early stage due to a lack of symptoms. As a result, understanding prostate cancer is important for both those at risk and their loved ones, so you can make an informed decision about getting tested, or support someone to make that decision for themselves.
Here are some questions to consider if you’re looking to learn more about prostate cancer:
- Who is at a high risk of developing prostate cancer?
- What are the symptoms?
- Should testing be considered?
- What are my treatment options for someone who is diagnosed?
- What support is available to those diagnosed with prostate cancer?
When researching something as complex as cancer, finding straightforward and reliable information can be challenging. Here are some reputable Australian organisations that offer specific information, support and advice:
- Cancer Australia
- Cancer Council Australia
- Healthdirect Australia
- Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia
The Long Run
The Long Run is a Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia initiative encouraging participants to run, walk or wheel 72km in September to raise money for those diagnosed with prostate cancer and their loved ones. This event has raised $40 million over ten years to support research, awareness campaigns and patient support, placed one hundred specialist prostate cancer nurses and distributed one million information kits in the community.
Participants can raise money as individuals or in a team, and over a thousand people have signed up for this year’s event. You could make a team with your work colleagues, organise some bushwalks with your friends or even get a few extra steps yourself. And with $220 000 having been raised, it shows a little bit of effort can go a long way.
You can find out more about the Long Run by visiting their website, where you can also sign up for this year’s event. Just don’t forget to spread the word on social media by using the hashtag #thelongrun, or by word of mouth amongst your loved ones so they know where and how to donate.
Your next steps and where to find support
Prostate Cancer Awareness Month is a wonderful initiative that raises vital awareness and funding for research into treatment of the disease. Whether you’re keen to run 72kn in just under a month, or simply want to learn what prostate cancer is, all contributions are valuable, no matter how small. And remember: raising awareness and improving your understanding of prostate cancer can, and should, still happen after September ends.
If you or one of your loved ones have been diagnosed with prostate cancer, having some extra support can make a huge difference. The Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia provides a range of support options for prostate cancer patients and their loved ones. These support services include:
- Prostate Cancer Specialist Nurses: nurses who are experienced in providing face-to-face support in both public and private hospitals.
- Prostate Cancer Specialist Telenursing Service: nurses who provide information, advice and support over the phone.
- Prostate Cancer Counselling: five specialised, individual counselling sessions offered via phone or video-chat.
- Prostate Cancer Support Groups: in-person support groups all over Australia for men and women passionate about sharing their experiences with prostate cancer and supporting others.
- MatesCONNECT: a phone-based support service connecting prostate cancer patients with volunteers who have been through prostate cancer.
By sharing your feelings and experiences with prostate cancer with a trusted professional, a peer or others in a similar situation can help you navigate your cancer diagnosis regardless of your age or background. Alternatively, you can chat to your local GP or Australia-wide mental health services such as BeyondBlue.
Disclaimer: The advice provided in this article is general in nature. For more information relating to your individual circumstances, please speak to your healthcare provider.
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