Four out of five prostate cancer patients in Ireland showed no symptoms when they were diagnosed, new research shows

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer affecting men. Stock photo: Getty

Four out of five Irish men with prostate cancer showed no symptoms when they were diagnosed with the disease, according to new research.

The research funded by the health charity, The Movember Foundation, looked at 4,800 patients who were diagnosed with the disease in 2016 and 2017.

The study, carried out by the Irish Prostate Cancer Outcomes Research (IPCOR) group calls on men, especially those over the age of 45, to speak to their doctor about their prostate health.

The report also found that 1 in 5 men diagnosed with prostate cancer are under the age of 60, which conflicts with general perception that the disease affects men of an older age, further highlighting the importance of men receiving regular health checks.

Two thirds of patients were registered as being under 70, and two out of five are under 65.

The study also found significant differences in waiting times for diagnosis between the public and private health systems.

The report found a 24-day delay in receiving a biopsy in the public healthcare system compared to the private system (32 days vs 56 days).

Patients wait an extra 30 days to learn of the results (55 days vs 85 days) with the report’s author noting delays in access to MRI imaging as a possible contributing factor.

MRI imaging is considered important in performing an accurate biopsy. Those in private hospitals were three times more likely to access a MRI scan before their biopsy, which improves diagnosis and may reduce the need for further biopsies.

Commenting on the findings  Dr David Galvin, IPCOR Principal Investigator and Consultant Urologist, said: “The report’s findings show how important it is for men to have a conversation with their doctor about their prostate health.

“Generally, prostate cancer only causes symptoms when it becomes advanced. The best chance we have to treat and cure the disease, is to catch the cancer early, before symptoms develop. Therefore, we would encourage men from the age of forty-five to speak to their doctor about their prostate health.

“We want the findings in this years’ report to be a catalyst to enhance prostate cancer care, improve patient experience and maximise quality of life for men diagnosed with prostate cancer in Ireland.”