Australia faces a surge in prostate cancer cases over the next two decades as the nation’s male population increases and ages, research shows.

The Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia says cases are expected to rise 43 per cent by 2040.

Its research, based on the number of Australians over the past 40 years with the disease likely to have male offspring, forecast cases to lift from more than 240,000 at present to 372,000.

“Our population is ageing and increasing, which means more and more men are being diagnosed with prostate cancer every year,” PCFA CEO Anne Savage said.

The research also found 630,000 Australians may presently be at double the average risk of prostate cancer due to a family history of the disease.

More than 24,000 Australians are likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year, and more than 3500 are expected to die from it, the PCFA says.

“Essentially what we are facing is a tidal wave of risk,” Ms Savage said.

“It’s vital that we give these men and their families all the information they need to enable early diagnosis and timely treatment.”

PCFA’s head of research Jeff Dunn said greater awareness was key to saving lives, especially among those with a family history of the potentially lethal cancer. 

Professor Dunn said most men did not know the PSA test guidelines – the screening program for prostate cancer – and may not know a family history lifted the risk of a potentially aggressive diagnosis at a younger age.

“The fact is that low awareness levels impede early detection and diminish men’s survival prospects,” he said.

“For men with a family history of disease, we need to give much clearer guidance about their risks and screening options.”

The new research has been timed with the peak body’s nationwide campaign for Prostate Cancer Awareness Month in September, known as The Long Run.