According a press release today from the Prostate Cancer Research Foundation of Canada, only 22 per cent of men aged 45 or older can accurately assess their risk of developing prostate cancer. Of greater concern is that only half of all middle-aged men in Canada aged 45-54 and their doctors are having the necessary dialogue about the disease.
The findings of this report are cause for concern as prostate cancer not only poses the greatest cancer threat to men in this country, but has a high cure rate if caught and treated early,” explains John Blanchard, President and CEO, Prostate Cancer Research Foundation of Canada. “In the last 20 years, we’ve seen the new cases of prostate cancer in Canada nearly double. This means we must be far more vigilant in disease screening and early detection among men when they’re in their forties versus waiting until they reach sixty.”

Another worrisome finding according to Blanchard is that women – the primary gatekeepers for family health – report poorer understanding of the disease than their male counterparts, significantly under-estimating their spouses’ odds of developing prostate cancer. Only nine per cent of women are able to correctly assess their partners’ risk. Women, in fact, report much higher knowledge on heart disease, and greater understanding of other cancers such as breast and skin cancer. Among both men and women 45-64 years of age, 57 per cent report having only “some to no understanding” of prostate cancer disease detection and treatment.
“In men with prostate cancer, a rapid rise in PSA has been clearly demonstrated to be associated with aggressive prostate cancer,” says Dr. Michael Pollak, MD, FRCPC, a member of the Prostate Cancer Research Foundation of Canada’s Scientific and Medical Advisory Committee, and medical oncologist at the Sir Mortimer B. Davis Jewish General Hospital in Montreal.

“Furthermore, by the time someone developed advanced prostate cancer, the PSA is almost always very high. The widespread use of PSA testing, along with the DRE, has resulted in the disease being diagnosed at a stage when it is much more curable. In turn, death from prostate cancer has dropped over 25 per cent in the past nine years in North America. This is a significant advance in the field of cancer and unfortunately has been overshadowed by the debate over PSA testing.”
Do we have a similar low understanding level in the United States?
Is the PSA debate causing problems in dialogue between physicians and their patients?
Should programs that target women be increased?
To read the entire press release with the report card click here.