Date: 
November 24, 2017

Recent figures show clear stabilisation of prostate cancer rates

Irish Cancer Society calls on all men to get regular prostate check-ups with their GP

The Irish Cancer Society has said that recent figures showing a decline in prostate cancer rates is a very positive development and it is vital that our health services continue to focus on encouraging men to get regular check-ups.

Statistics earlier this month showed that there has been a decline of just over 4% in the incidence rate of prostate cancer between 2011 and 2015. This decline has also heavily influenced the overall downward trend of cancer incidence among men outlined in the same report.

Speaking about the figures, Donal Buggy, Head of Services and Advocacy said, “These are very welcome figures and we very much hope that this trend will continue. We can clearly see the huge impact prostate cancer has on the national cancer landscape with the decline contributing to a 2% decrease in the overall incidence in male cancers.

“Furthermore, we saw that over a 20 year period, prostate cancer survival rates have drastically increased. Over 9 in 10 men are now likely to be alive five years after being diagnosed with this cancer, up from just 6 in 10 men in the 1990s.”

“However, in order to keep incidence numbers on a downward trend, and those survival rates on the up, every man over 50 in Ireland should be having a conversation with their GP about prostate cancer.

Men over 50 are more at risk of getting the disease and should be getting their PSA levels checked on a regular basis, even if they don’t have any symptoms, as early prostate cancer often does not have any symptoms at all. Prostate cancer is very treatable but the earlier it is detected, the better. This is why these conversations with GPs are so vital.”

“We must remember that after non-melanoma skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in men, with 1 in 7 at risk of the disease in their lifetime. When we look at cancer survivorship in this country, we see that there are more than 33,000 men living with and beyond prostate cancer in Ireland. As a result, prostate cancer represents 1 in 5 (20%) of the current cancer population so we still have a lot of survivors in need of help and support.”

The Irish Cancer Society, with support from the Movember Foundation, funds two Care, Advice, Support and Education (CASE) Nurses for prostate cancer patients. Located in University Hospital Galway and St James’ Hospital Dublin, the nurses provide specialist follow-up care for men who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer. These roles were created in direct response to a survey of prostate cancer survivors carried out in 2011, where more than half of respondents said that the physical and emotional side-effects of their treatment were worse than expected.

CASE Nurse Rachael Dalton added, “Emotional support is one of the greatest needs among prostate cancer patients and survivors and is one of the most common enquiries made to support services. Men who have had prostate cancer often need a greater level of support due to the side effects experienced from the disease and go through a wide range of emotions during treatment and in the years following their diagnosis.

“Many men can find it hard to come to terms with what they have been through and have feelings of fear, anxiety, sadness, anger or depression and very often feel guilty for not feeling as happy as they think they should feel following their treatment. It is really important that they are aware of the supports that are available to them when feeling like this.”

The Society made the comments during Movember, as part of its prostate cancer awareness month and said that figures show that approximately 3,300 men are diagnosed with the disease each year.

The signs and symptoms of prostate cancer may include some or all of the following:

  • A slow flow of urine.
  • Trouble starting or stopping the flow.
  • Passing urine more often, especially at night.
  • Pain when passing urine.
  • Blood in the urine or semen.
  • Feeling of not emptying your bladder fully.

These symptoms may be caused by prostate cancer or they may be caused by other conditions, such as a harmless growth of the prostate gland. It is also important to understand that early prostate cancer may not cause urinary symptoms, or any symptoms at all. It is not safe to assume that if there are no prostate urinary symptoms, cancer is not a possibility, and men should visit their doctor if they are worried.

Man with a moustacheMovember is the only global charity focused on men’s health. In Ireland, Movember is the primary contributor to the Irish Cancer Society’s prostate cancer initiatives. Funds raised help provide information, support and care to those affected by prostate cancer, as well as funding vital cancer research. Getting involved is easy. Simply sign up at Movember.com and fundraise by:

  • Growing a Moustache.
  • Taking the Move Challenge and get active.
  • Hosting an event.
  • Making a donation.

More information about men's health

The Manual For Men is available from www.cancer.ie/menshealth, Irish Cancer Society Daffodil Centres, Boots Stores or contact the Cancer Nurseline on Freephone 1800 200 700 to receive a free copy.