Myths vs facts of prostate cancer
|X You can wait until you have symptoms to get tested for prostate cancer.|| ✔ Most men who are diagnosed with prostate cancer have no symptoms. Men should start testing for prostate cancer when they are:
|X Testing for prostate cancer with your GP always involves a digital (finger) rectal exam.|| ✔ A digital rectal examination is no longer a routine test with your GP. The first test for prostate cancer is a PSA blood test, taken in the same way as a standard blood test.
Your GP will speak to you about your individual situation and need for tests.
|X Only elderly men can get prostate cancer.|| ✔ The risk of prostate cancer increases from age 50.
In 2022, an estimated 7,000+ men under 65 will receive a prostate cancer diagnosis in Australia.
|X If you have prostate cancer, you need surgery.||✔ There are a range of treatment options for prostate cancer. Many men are carefully monitored, without needing treatment.|
|X A robot performs a robotic prostatectomy (prostate removal surgery)||✔ A surgeon (urologist) performs a prostatectomy. They make precise movements in the surgical console to control the robotic instruments.|
Know the basics of prostate cancer
What is prostate cancer?
Prostate cancer happens when abnormal cells grow out of control in the prostate.
The prostate is a gland in the male reproductive system. It sits under the bladder and surrounds the urethra, the tube that carries urine from the bladder out of the body.
The prostate produces some of the fluids that make semen, the fluid that helps sperm to travel. Open your prostate cancer overview brochure (PDF), to learn the signs, tests and treatments.
Prostate cancer rarely causes symptoms in its early stages. Most men are diagnosed with no symptoms (asymptomatic).
If you notice urinary symptoms, it is best to take action and speak to your GP or urologist.
See your GP if you experience:
- urine flow that is slow, weak or interrupted
- frequent urination
- a sudden or urgent need for urination
- feeling like you cannot completely empty your bladder
- pain or burning with urination
- blood in urine or semen
Symptoms of prostate cancer spread3
- back and bone pain
- leg swelling
- weight loss
- fatigue (tiredness)
- signs of neurological issues, including weakness or numbness in legs or feet
When to get tested?
Men should start testing when they are:
- 50 years old, or
- 10 years younger than the age their first-degree relative was diagnosed with prostate cancer (father or brother)
The first step is a PSA blood test – available with your GP or urologist. A urologist is a surgeon who specialises in the diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer and related conditions.
If needed, your Epworth urologist will recommend further investigations such as a digital rectal examination (prostate exam), prostate MRI scan and prostate biopsy.
Ask us anything - Prostate Cancer
Talk to your GP about PSA testing
Book an appointment with your GP to improve your chances of detecting prostate cancer early.
They will explain the potential pros and cons of starting PSA testing and collect a blood sample from you to screen for prostate cancer.
If you need further investigation, your GP will refer you to a urologist.
Choose your Epworth urologist
In Victoria, around 1 in 5 men with prostate cancer will seek diagnosis and treatment at Epworth. You’ll be surrounded by experienced professionals, skilled in treating prostate cancer and urinary conditions.
At Epworth, clinical expertise is backed by the leading E.J. Whitten Prostate Cancer Research Centre - dedicated to improving diagnosis and treatment options for men.
Ask your GP for a referral to an expert Epworth urologist, or browse to find an Epworth urologist close to you in Box Hill, East Melbourne, Richmond and Geelong.
- Prostate Cancer Treatment (PDQ®) – Patient Version, National Cancer Institute, 2021, cancer.gov/types/prostate/patient/prostate-treatment-pdq
- American Cancer Society, Signs and symptoms of prostate cancer, 2019, cancer.org/cancer/prostate-cancer/detection-diagnosis-staging/signs-symptoms.html
- Optimal care pathway for men with prostate cancer, 2nd edn, Cancer Council Victoria and Department of Health Victoria 2021, Cancer Council Victoria, Melbourne.