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Young men falling victim to prostate cancer

RICHARD De Nichilo went to the doctor for a blood pressure and cholesterol check and found he had cancer.
 
"After I had my children at 42, I decided to go in and have a blood test, but I never made it," he said.
 
It took four years before the father-of-two had the test. Nine months ago Mr De Nichilo, 46, had his prostate removed.
 
Experts say he is one in a growing number of younger men being diagnosed with prostate cancer.
 
"They tell you you've got eight years if you do nothing," Mr De Nichilo said.
 
"It costs almost nothing to get tested but if you don't, it will cost you everything.
 
"It is curable if you catch it before it spreads and have it removed in total."
 
He said he had thought prostate cancer was an older man's disease.
 
Royal Adelaide Hospital general manager and Prostate Cancer Foundation member, Prof Villis Marshall, said the prostate specific antigen (PSA) blood test and manual examination were key to early diagnosis.
 
"It had been a common belief that prostate cancer was only diagnosed in elderly men," Prof Marshall said.
 
"However, with increased testing using blood PSA levels, we are increasingly detecting prostate cancer in men under the age of 50."
 
He said men with a family history of prostate cancer should begin regular testing as early as 40, so any diagnosis could be treated early.
 
"We currently recommend that men at 50 with no family history of prostate cancer, and men at 40 with a family history, should talk to their doctor about voluntary annual assessments in the form of a PSA blood test with a digital rectal examination."
 
Australia has the highest prostate cancer rate in the world. Each year, about 20,000 Australian men are diagnosed and 3300 die.
 
Urologist Dr Peter Sutherland said the disease had no symptoms until it had spread - and become incurable.

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