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HealthInfo Canterbury

Overview of prostate cancer

This page has links to information in te reo Māori.


Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in New Zealand men. Most men who develop prostate cancer are over 65. It's rare in men younger than 55.

If you're 40, the risk of prostate cancer is one in 500. If you're in your 70s, the risk increases to around one in nine. The risk is higher if you have a relative who has had prostate cancer.

You should see your GP if you have problems urinating or any symptoms that might suggest a problem with your prostate. Prostate symptoms usually mean an enlarged prostate.

Many men with prostate cancer have no symptoms. That's why regular checks with your GP are important. The advice on the right age to start checking your prostate varies. But a good guide for most men is to start checking at around 50. If your father or brother has had prostate cancer, your risk of developing prostate cancer is higher. In this case, you should consider being checked from age 40.

A check will usually involve a PSA blood test and a digital rectal exam. To do a digital rectal exam, your GP inserts a lubricated gloved finger into your anal canal. This lets them feel for any abnormalities with your prostate.

  HealthInfo recommends the following pages

On the next page: PSA test

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Endorsed by Urology Department, Canterbury DHB. Last reviewed August 2018. Last updated September 2019.


See also:


Inherited cancer & BRCA genes

Prostate health and symptoms

Page reference: 542416

Review key: HIPRH-45800