The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists (RANZCR), the Urological Society of Australia and New Zealand (USANZ) and Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia (PCFA) welcome new guidance under the Medicare Benefit Schedule (MBS) for treatment of prostate cancer which aims to ensure men can fully explore the best treatment option for them.
Prostate cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers in men in Australia. Most recent estimations say that 1 in 6 Australian men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer before the age of 85. At present, the majority of men are treated by a surgical procedure called radical prostatectomy.
A range of clinicians are involved in the treatment of newly diagnosed prostate cancer, particularly GPs, urologists and radiation oncologists.
The new best practice MBS guideline recommends that men diagnosed with prostate cancer consult with both a radiation oncologist and a urologist, and complex cases have the benefit of multi-disciplinary team review.
RANZCR President Dr Lance Lawler said, “Men diagnosed with prostate cancer are at the centre of decision-making about what treatment will be best for them when urologists and radiation oncologists work together as a consultation team.
“Best practice is for men diagnosed with prostate cancer to have a consultation with both a urologist and a radiation oncologist so that they can fully understand the advantages and disadvantages of both surgery and radiation therapy.
“Surgery and radiation therapy are both equally effective but do cause very different side effects. Patients, surgeons and radiation oncologists together need to inform these decisions and men must be empowered to have input into their preferences.”
USANZ President Dr Stephen Mark said, “We support men receiving appropriate information in order to make an informed decision regarding management of a newly diagnosed prostate cancer. Some men will be best served by active surveillance whereas others will benefit from active treatment whether surgery, radiation or radiation with hormonal therapy. Treatment decisions should be individualised based on cancer risk and consideration of potential consequences of treatment.
PCFA CEO Professor Jeff Dunn AO welcomed the new guidance.
He said, “This guideline will help to ensure men and their families can make fully informed decisions about treatment for prostate cancer. This move aligns with world’s best-practice and reinforces Australia’s reputation for delivering world leading strategies to improve prostate cancer survival outcomes and quality of life throughout survivorship.”
An overview of the changes to Medicare-funded urology services is available on the Department of Health’s website.