What’s the prostate and why is it prone to problems?

USANZ Past President Adjunct Professor Peter Heathcote and Professor Declan Murphy provided comment to Liam Mannix of the Sydney Morning Herald for his recent article on the prostate. The article was published on 11 November 2021.

Access the article: What's the Prostate and Why is it Prone to Problems?
Please note that the full article is only available to SMH online subscribers.

In the article Adjunct Professor Peter Heathcote made the following comments:

  • In 81 per cent of newly diagnosed cases in Australia, prostate cancer is contained in the prostate. When the cancer is localised, it is curable. Even when the cancer spreads it can be controlled for many years.
  • Active Surveillance has been one of the great advances in the last five to ten years.

In the article Professor Declan Murphy made the following comments:

  • Prostates grow larger naturally as men age.
  • The 2 biggest risk factors are aging and family history, which men can do nothing about.
  • For men with low-risk prostate cancer, most get treated with “active surveillance”. 70 per cent of these men will never be treated.
  • With regards to sexual function, the prostate is not very tolerant of having things done to it.
  • Surveillance has been the great mitigator of over-diagnosis. The second great mitigator is prostate MRI scanning. The way to mitigate the harm of over-diagnosis is by not over-treating.


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