Excluding non-melanoma skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in Australia and, after lung cancer, the largest cause of cancer death in Australian men. In 2009, over 19,400 new prostate cancer cases were diagnosed; in 2007, there were 2938 deaths in Australia from prostate cancer.
The main risk factor for prostate cancer is ageing, with incidence of the disease increasing in step with ageing at a markedly high rate; 80% of prostate cancer cases and 97% of deaths in Australia occur in men aged 60 and over.
Family history cancer also be a risk factor for prostate cancer, with between 5% and 10% of cases estimated to be caused by a genetic predisposition.
There is no organised screening test for prostate cancer, as evidence shows that the two most commonly used early-detection technologies, the PSA blood test and digital rectal examination, are not sufficiently accurate as population screening tools.
Cancer Council's policy recommendations, and background information, is articulated in the prostate cancer screening chapter of our National Cancer Prevention Policy. We have also published a concise summary statement on prostate cancer screening, developed in partnership the intergovernmental Australian Health Ministers? Advisory Council.
Sources: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Australian Cancer Incidence and Mortality Books, 2012, Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing, Cancer screening section.