Prostate cancer: Past, present and future Australian initiatives for improving men’s health

Daryl Cheng, Flora Poon & Anthony Dat

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

Dr. Daryl R Cheng
MBBS, Monash University (2010)
Intern, Royal Melbourne Hospital

Flora Poon
Third Year Medicine (Undergraduate)
Bond University

Anthony Dat
Third Year Medicine (Undergraduate)
Bond University

Daryl was the joint winner of the AVANT Research Fellowship in 2009 and the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia (PCFA) Travel Grant for 2010.

Flora was awarded the Avant Research Fellowship in 2009 and in 2010 co-led the Australian Medical Students’ Association’s paper team on Prostate Cancer. Flora presented this work at the 23rd East Asian Medical Student’s Conference (EAMSC) in Malaysia and was awarded the first runner-up paper prize.
Anthony was a co-presenter of this review article at the 2010 East Asian Medical Students’ Conference (EAMSC) which was awarded 1st Runner-Up. During that same year, he was awarded the First in Class Prize and Vice Chancellor’s Prize for Academic Excellence.


Prostate cancer is the most common internal cancer in Australian men. Whilst recent trends demonstrate stabilising incidence and decreasing mortality rates, it remains a major health burden for Australian men and requires continued action. This report outlines the status of prostate cancer in Australia’s health care system, both past and present, and analyses the effectiveness of healthcare campaigns used to generate awareness. The aim is to assess awareness, perception and public behaviour toward this disease, as well as to impart Australia’s strategies on improving public knowledge in this area.

Methods: A comprehensive search of English language literature was conducted. Articles were limited to those relating to prostate cancer in Australia. Additionally, websites of various prostate cancer awareness campaigns or organisations were evaluated, based on a comprehensive list provided by the National Men’s Health Policy Submissions Document. [1]

Results: One hundred and ninety-five relevant journal articles were found, which were subsequently evaluated independently by three authors. Of these, 56 fit the inclusion criteria.

Conclusion: Development in knowledge, awareness and attitudes toward prostate cancer has been significant over the past few years. However, despite prostate cancer being a major health burden for Australian men, there are still misconceptions and a lack of awareness amongst the general population. The combination of prostate cancer specific organisations such as the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia, campaigns and events such as ‘Movember’ and ‘Be a Man,’ health promotion in schools, universities and workplaces, as well as the development of a national men’s health policy can only further serve to advance prostate cancer awareness.