September is Prostate Cancer Awareness month, and to underscore its importance, Pathology Awareness Australia and the Parliamentary Friends of Prostate Cancer Awareness invited male parliamentarians and staff in Canberra to get tested, to share stories about how they’ve been impacted by prostate cancer and to help spread awareness.

It was a fantastic turn out with 217 men taking Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) tests. Amongst those tested were the Minister for the Health, the Hon Greg Hunt MP, Shadow Minister for Transport & Infrastructure, the Hon Anthony Albanese MP, Minister for Agriculture & Water Resources, the Hon David Littleproud MP, and Assistant Minister for Roads & Transport, the Hon Scott Buchholz MP.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer affecting Australian men, with 20,000 diagnosed with the disease each year. In 2018, it is estimated that 3,500 Australian men will die from prostate cancer.

Age and family history are the two major risk factors of developing prostate cancer.

The event – held in conjunction with Parliamentary Friends of Prostate Cancer Awareness Co-Chairs, the Hon Jason Clare MP and the Hon Warren Entsch MP – called on males over 50 to consider testing for prostate cancer.

Hon Jason Clare MP, who lost his grandfather to prostate cancer, said, “Unfortunately, a lot of men don’t get checked until it’s too late when all it takes is a simple blood test. Talk to your doctor and get tested. It might just save your life”.

Hon Warren Entsch MP said, “In many cases, Prostate Cancer might not show any symptoms before diagnosis. Therefore, it is advised to go for preventive screening, if you are over 50, or 40 if there is a family history.”

Dr. Mike Freelander MP said, “Prostate cancer has affected my family and as a Paediatrician I totally understand the seriousness of this issue. The interpretation of PSA test is not black and white, and I think it is important to screen people and understand whom to screen and whom not to screen. We need to work towards spreading more awareness about men’s health issues”.

The event provided a great opportunity to showcase to parliamentarians and to staff at Parliament House the efficacy of PSA testing and the guidelines surrounding it.

It was also a great opportunity to underscore the value of pathology to the Australian medical system and to the health of Australians.

The prostate awareness event is the second pathology screening event organised by Pathology Awareness Australia in parliament house this year. In July, PAA in conjunction with the Parliamentary Friends of Diabetes organised a diabetes testing event in the senate alcove in parliament house.