Deadliest regions in NSW for prostate cancer
Men face an "unacceptable" 24 per cent higher risk than average of dying from prostate cancer in some regions around Australia, a damning new online calculator has revealed.
The STARGATE tool developed by the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia shows men's fear of going to the doctor and poor access to health services in rural areas is a killer.
Men living in the Queensland Outback, Ballarat, and Darwin face the highest death rates from the cancer which kills nine men every day in Australia.
The area with the lowest rate five year survival rate of 75.7 is Ballarat in Victoria.
While men living in the Baulkham Hills and Hawkesbury area of Sydney enjoy the highest five-year survival rate of 90.6 after being diagnosed with the cancer.
The huge survival gap highlighted that some men were not getting access to quality diagnosis and treatment, Prostate Cancer Foundation CEO Professor Jeff Dunn said.
"This is a call to action. you know, we want to inspire action with STARGATE - raising awareness, improving access to care, and ensuring all men are given the best possible prospects of detecting prostate cancer early and beating it," he said.
It also showed the need for the Federal Government to spend $2 million on new up to date clinical guidelines for prostate cancer testing, he said.
In NSW the New England area has the highest death rate from the cancer followed by the Richmond Tweed area and the Murray.
Meanwhile men living in Ryde and the Inner South of Sydney have the lowest risk of dying from the cancer Australia-wide.
In Victoria men living in Ballarat, the North West region of the state and those in LaTrobe/Gippsland face the highest death rates while men living in Melbourne's North East and Melbourne Inner East have the lowest death rates in the state.
While in Queensland men living in the Outback, in Cairns and Beaudesert have the highest death rates from prostate cancer while those in Ipswich have the lowest death rates in the state.
In South Australia those living in the Outback and Yorke Mid-North face the highest death rates from the cancer while those living in Central Adelaide and Hills face the lowest risk of death.
In Tasmania men living in Launceston face the highest risk of death from the cancer while those living in the South East have the lowest death rate in the state.
The tool has also identified for the first time the areas with the fastest growing rates of new prostate cancer diagnoses.
The Sutherland area of Sydney, the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria, and Mandurah in Western Australia are experiencing the fastest growth in cases of the deadly condition.
In Queensland Brisbane West had the highest rate of new diagnoses, in South Australia Adelaide West had the highest rate of new cases in Tasmania Hobart had the highest rate of new diagnoses.
It had been thought that early diagnosis of the cancer would save lives but the tool has shown this is not always the case.
Some regions with high rates of early diagnosis do not have better survival outcomes.
For example, the Murray region in New South Wales had the highest rate of Stage 1 diagnosis in the country, but the mortality rate is 20 per cent higher than the national average.
This means access to treatment and other factors are playing a part in avoidable prostate cancer deaths, the foundation said.
"The STARGATE data gives us a deeper analysis of the tragic fact that men in regional and rural areas of Australia face a 24 per cent higher than average risk of death," the foundation's CEO, Professor Jeff Dunn AO, said.
Over the next 10 years more than 30,000 men will die if no action is taken, a death toll that PCFA said can be avoided if rates of early detection and access to treatment are improved, he said.
"Community awareness is key to beating prostate cancer. Many Australians don't know the risk factors for prostate cancer, such as age and family history. If you have just one direct male relative who has had the disease, your risk doubles," said Prof Dunn.
SURVIVOR 'SHOCKED' TO LEARN OF DEATH RATES
Sydney-based aviation lecturer Tony Webber was 51 when he began going to the toilet eight times a night but a year of scans and blood tests and a digital rectal examination by his GP found no problems.
"I thought it was because I'd put on some weight, I didn't even know what the prostate was when I first went to the doctor," Mr Webber said.
Eventually Mr Webber insisted on seeing a specialist.
"The radiation oncologist, said 'I can actually feel your cancer', and the urologist said this doesn't feel normal," he said.
"This is one of the lessons - if you get the digital test done, then needs to be done by someone who does a lot of them."
After treatment with chemotherapy, radiation and an anti- hormone medication, Mr Webber is doing well.
He said he was "shocked" to learn men in some regions of Australia had a 24 per cent higher death rate from the cancer.
He lives in the Sutherland Shire in Sydney which has the highest rate of new diagnoses of the cancer in Australia.
"What I think you've got is, maybe an area where, when blokes find trouble, down there with the waterworks they actually go to the doctor and so there's a higher discovery rate," he said.
Originally published as Deadliest regions in NSW for prostate cancer