Cancer Experts Welcome Medicare Changes to Empower Men with Prostate Cancer

2 November 2020

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 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, “These guidelines 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.

For media enquiries please contact:

  • RANZCR Senior Media Officer, Lucy Hutton – 0417 435 333
  • USANZ Media advisor, Edwina Gatenby – 0402 130 254
  • PCFA Head of Advocacy and Strategy, Anne Savage – 0417 709 869


The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists (RANZCR) is committed to improving health outcomes for all, by educating and supporting clinical radiologists and radiation oncologists. RANZCR is dedicated to setting standards, professional training, assessment and accreditation, and advocating access to quality care in both professions to create healthier communities.  

RANZCR creates a positive impact by driving change, focusing on the professional development of its members and advancing best practice health policy and advocacy, to enable better patient outcomes.  

RANZCR members are critical to health services: radiation oncology is a vital component in the treatment of cancer; clinical radiology is central to the diagnosis and treatment of disease and injury.  

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The Urological Society of Australia and New Zealand is the peak professional body for urological surgeons in Australia and New Zealand. Urologists are surgeons who treat men, women and children with problems involving the kidney, bladder, prostate and male reproductive organs. These conditions include cancer, stones, infection, incontinence, sexual dysfunction and pelvic floor problems.

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