Prostate cancer is a disease that kills thousands of men in Austria every year, but the rate at which it does so is less than in most European nations.
That is because the disease is not necessarily a death sentence, and the countries in which it is detected and treated earlier will have higher survival rates.
Eurostat provided the most recent statistics on mortality rates for prostate cancer in 2018. The chart of EEA countries (including the UK, which was still in the EU then, plus non-EU nations like Norway and Switzerland) saw Austria having the 11th lowest rate out of the 31 listed.
The Austrian mortality rate was 29.4 per 100,000 men, which compared favourably with neighbours like Germany and Switzerland, but was worse than Italy.
Overall, the lowest death rate was 18.9 in Luxembourg, with the highest being Estonia at 50.9, followed by Sweden at 50.4.
Needless to say, a key factor in survival can be having treatment at a top radiotherapy centre, but first it is important to spot symptoms and get a swift diagnosis. As with any cancer, the sooner it is identified and treated, the better the chances of survival.
Writing for Targeted Oncology, US-based radiotherapy oncologist John Sylvester noted that many of the common symptoms that can indicate a problem needing investigation, such as urinary problems or blood in urine, are not always present.
For this reason, he said early screening, especially for those at high risk such as men from certain ethnic groups or those with a family history of prostate cancer, can save lives.
Dr Sylvester went on to note that while surgery can work for some patients, it is not the only option and that treatment options “become more limited” once the prostate itself has been removed. Moreover, he noted, research has shown that “combining radiotherapy with brachytherapy provides a better chance of preventing local cancer from metastasizing”.
So by getting checked out early, patients may find that they can tackle prostate cancer swiftly and effectively without having to resort to life-changing surgery.