December 3, 2018

New report finds four out of five men diagnosed with prostate cancer in Ireland had no symptoms

-    Movember Ireland funded prostate cancer research program – IPCOR – launches first round of findings
-    One fifth of men in Ireland with prostate cancer are under 60

Four out of five Irish men with prostate cancer showed no symptoms when they were diagnosed with the disease, according to research funded by men’s health charity, The Movember Foundation. The report, from the Irish Prostate Cancer Outcomes Research (IPCOR) group, contains data from over 4,800 patients who were diagnosed with the disease in 2016 and 2017. IPCOR will produce annual reports, tracking men’s outcomes through their cancer journey. The findings have prompted Movember and IPCOR to encourage men, especially those over the age of 45, to speak to their doctor about their prostate health.

The report also found that 1 in 5 men diagnosed with prostate cancer are under the age of 60, which conflicts with general perception that the disease affects men of an older age, further highlighting the importance of men receiving regular health checks. Two thirds of patients were registered as being under 70, and two out of five are under 65. 

Commenting on the launch of IPCOR’s report, Dr David Galvin, IPCOR Principal Investigator and Consultant Urologist, said: “The report’s findings show how important it is for men to have a conversation with their doctor about their prostate health. Generally, prostate cancer only causes symptoms when it becomes advanced. The best chance we have to treat and cure the disease, is to catch the cancer early, before symptoms develop. Therefore, we would encourage men from the age of forty-five to speak to their doctor about their prostate health.”

“We want the findings in this years’ report to be a catalyst to enhance prostate cancer care, improve patient experience and maximise quality of life for men diagnosed with prostate cancer in Ireland” added Dr Galvin.

The groundbreaking study provides a unique insight into prostate cancer care in Ireland and is based on the largest data set of its kind.  The data contained in the report includes detailed clinical data from both public and private hospitals across Ireland and shows approximately 250 men per month are registered in the project as newly diagnosed. 

The study also found significant differences in waiting times for diagnosis between the public and private health systems. The report found a 24-day delay in receiving a biopsy in the public healthcare system compared to the private system (32 days vs 56 days). Patients wait an extra 30 days to learn of the results (55 days vs 85 days) with the report’s author noting delays in access to MRI imaging as a possible contributing factor. MRI imaging is considered important in performing an accurate biopsy. Those in private hospitals were three times more likely to access a MRI scan before their biopsy, which improves diagnosis and may reduce the need for further biopsies.

Neil Rooney, Movember Country Director, said: “Over the past ten years, through the support of over 100,000 Irish men and women, Movember has become the largest non-governmental funder of prostate cancer initiatives in Ireland. As we enter the final days of the campaign, the work of IPCOR demonstrates how the funds raised are making a real difference to the lives of men effected by prostate cancer – informing diagnosis, improving outcomes and enabling a better quality of life. Through continued support we can keep funding innovative research that helps Irish men to live happier, healthier, longer lives.”

Dr Robert O’Connor, Head of Research at the Irish Cancer Society, said: “We are delighted to support Movember and the clinicians at IPCOR on this research. Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in Irish men and Movember’s funding of IPCOR is playing a vital role in improving the lives of men across the country.”

Established in 2014, IPCOR is a nationwide prostate cancer registry which captures high-quality information from newly diagnosed prostate cancer patients in the Republic of Ireland. IPCOR, which is funded for a five-year period by Movember, is a collaborative partnership involving the Irish Cancer Society, National Cancer Registry Ireland, the HRB Clinical Research Facility in Galway, the National Cancer Control Program and the nation’s major academic institutions represented by Clinical Research Development Ireland. IPCOR will continue to report ever year to both the public, to hospitals and to doctors.