A campaign to raise awareness on the prevention of prostate cancer was launched by the Health Promotion Department this morning. It will run until June 1.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in Malta.

Between 2003 and 2007 there were 692 new cases of prostate cancer in Malta but the annual incidence, at 60.96 cases per 100,000 men, was lower than the EU average which stood at 106.2 cases per 100,000.

Health Minister Joe Cassar said that in 2007 prostate cancer was most common in men older than 85 and in 2008 it led to 36 deaths. The aim of the campaign, he said, was to raise awareness especially in those over 65 or with a family history.

The minister appealed to all men over 45 to have an annual check-up. Prostate cancer, he said, was a silent killer but it could be treated if caught early.

He said that men were also being encouraged to eat tomatoes, which were also given out during the launch, because they had a lot of antioxidants which could help reduce the incidence.

The minister announced that, as from today, family doctors could start ordering the test themselves.

Saint James Hospital is also collaborating in the initiative offering the blood test at €20, half the price.

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