8 Jul 2014

Call for more detail on prostate cancer

9:04 pm on 8 July 2014

A major new study of prostate cancer says much more information must be gathered about all men diagnosed with it and more focus is needed on the care of those with advanced or aggressive forms of the disease.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among New Zealand men, killing about 600 a year.

Findings from the three-year Midlands Prostate Cancer Study were released in Hamilton on Tuesday by Health Minister Tony Ryall.

The study says those diagnosed with localised prostate cancer have a good prognosis, with many surviving more than 10 years without treatment.

However, Maori have worse outcomes, including a higher likelihood of developing advanced or metastatic prostate cancer.

Researchers say more clarity is needed over who manages high-risk patients, and basic information currently being gathered should include a man's age, his ethnicity and the grade and stage of his cancer.

One of the report's authors, Ross Lawrenson, a professor of primary care at Auckland University, says clearer guidelines are needed about the management of those with the more deadly advanced or metastatic form.

"I think it's unclear about who should be managing these patients. some of them are managed by urologists, some are managed by radiation oncologists, but very few are being managed by medical oncologists.

"So the pathway of care is unclear, and a lot of these men are managed in general practice."

The study was funded by the Health Research Council and the Ministry of Health.