Pain-free prostate cancer test could save lives

Queensland researchers are working to develop a painless prostate cancer test that could help to differentiate between aggressive tumours and tumours that pose no danger to health.

Funded by Cancer Council Queensland, the innovative University of Queensland study, led by Dr Matthew Roberts, is examining naturally-produced body fluids to try and find a more effective prostate cancer test.

Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift said the study could lead to a breakthrough in the detection and treatment of prostate cancer.

“Prostate cancer is complex – while some tumours grow quickly and prove lethal, others grow slowly and do not cause harm in a normal lifespan,” Ms Clift said.

“Right now doctors do not have a single, simple test to detect prostate cancer.

“The findings of this study could help to create a test that improves the clinical treatment of the 4000 Queensland men affected by the disease each year, better informing treatment options for doctors and patients.

“Cancer Council Queensland is proud to fund this promising research project, it could help many men to avoid unnecessary treatment for prostate cancer and avoid the often life-altering side-effects of surgery and hormonal therapy.”

Lead researcher from the University of Queensland, Dr Matthew Roberts, said in addition to being painless, the test could help determine whether a tumour is aggressive or slow growing, better assessing risks to a man’s health.

“I’ve always been passionate about men’s health, and in the course of my work as a clinician I’ve seen first-hand the devastating effects prostate cancer has on men and their families,” Dr Roberts said.

“This highlights to me the importance of better methods of testing and I’m determined to do all I can to improve the way we diagnose and treat prostate cancer in the future.

“There are many great ideas and approaches to these problems, but just not enough money to make them happen.

“For organisations like Cancer Council Queensland to see and share our vision and provide financial support is something we’re truly grateful for.

“We will do our best to repay their faith in us by providing the best research outcomes for Queenslanders, and all Australians.”

Cancer Council Queensland is asking all men to be proactive about prostate cancer, urging men at risk to talk to their GP about the pros and cons of testing.

“Our Cancer Council Helpline 13 11 20, staffed by fully trained professionals, is available Monday to Friday for more information about prostate cancer or to discuss being tested for prostate cancer,” Ms Clift said.

“Men in at-risk age groups, particularly those over 50, or with a family history, need to be proactive about prostate cancer.”

“About 32,500 men are alive today in Queensland after a diagnosis of prostate cancer, and while five-year relative survival rate for prostate cancer has increased from 64 per cent in the 1980s to 92 per cent today, we know that the impacts on quality of life can be physically and emotionally challenging for men and their partners.”

More information about Cancer Council Queensland is available at or Cancer Council Helpline 13 11 20.

For more information or interviews, please contact:
Katie Clift, Executive Manager, Media and Spokesperson, Cancer Council Queensland
Ph: (07) 3634 5372 or 0409 001 171​