Prostate cancer is mining’s silent killer

Medical research fund the Mater Foundation says workers in the male dominated mining industry need to make sure they're aware of the risks of prostate cancer.

Speaking at the Queensland Mining Expo Mater officials said many mining workers weren't well educated about what prostate cancer was and how to prevent it.

"A lot of people don't know what the prostate is, which we've come to learn from visiting mine sites and talking to workers," they said.

Mater said one in eight men was diagnosed with prostate cancer and men were almost certain to get it if they lived long enough.

Men with blood relatives diagnosed with the disease are much more at risk, and Mater said people who had three blood relatives who had been diagnosed were "almost certain" to contract prostate cancer themselves.

"The best cure is actually early diagnosis," they said.

"We urge young men especially to go and find out what their family history is."

Mater has worked extensively in the male-dominated mining industry, particularly with BMA, to raise awareness about the risks of prostate cancer.

Highlighting the challenges in fighting the disease, the research fund said most men only went to the doctor once every three years and they usually didn't go back to the same GP.

They also said the disease was much harder to market and raise awareness for compared to breast cancer.

Earlier this year Thiess workers at Xstrata's Mt Owen coal mine painted their haul trucks blue to raise awareness and funds for prostate cancer research.

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