A photo of a moustachioed man smiling towards the camera.
Medicare funding means equitable access to the treatment for Aussie men.Image by: Movember
A photo of a moustachioed man smiling towards the camera.
8 April 2022

Movember welcomes announcement on Medicare funding for PSMA PET scans

2 minutes read time

Movember welcomes the Australian Federal Government announcement that Medicare will fund high-tech PSMA PET scans for men with advanced prostate cancer.

Prostate specific membrane antigen (PSMA) PET scans help doctors determine whether a man’s prostate cancer has spread and should be routinely used in men with high-risk disease, according to Movember-funded research.

Until now, patients have only been able to access the scans via clinical trials or by paying privately with scans costing up to AUD $1,000.

The Medicare funding will mean equitable access to the technology for Australian men with a high-risk form of the disease, which claims the lives of over 3,300 men every year.

" Funds raised by the Movember community have made this game-changing technology more accessible to more men. "

Jane Fisher, Global Director of Cancer Research and Clinical Trials at Movember, said: “This is a real game-changing announcement for men with prostate cancer. We are extremely grateful to our Movember community whose dedicated fundraising efforts allow us to support transformative research that leads to the development of new tests and therapies like this.”

The primary data in the funding application came from the ProPSMA study, led by researchers from the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne, Australia and published in The Lancet in 2020.

The results of the study showed that PSMA PET scans accurately staged disease in 92 per cent of newly diagnosed patients, compared with 65 per cent of men who underwent conventional CT/bone scans.

During a PSMA scan, a small radiotracer is injected into a vein. It finds its way to prostate cancer cells and binds with them. The man then goes into a PET scanner that takes images of the whole body and shows up cancerous cells as small as 2-3 mm anywhere in the body. Peter Mac performed the first PSMA PET scan in Melbourne, in 2014.

The ProPSMA study was funded by the Clinicial Trial Award from the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia (PCFA) and Movember.

Lead Investigator, Professor Michael Hofman of the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre tweeted: "Huge thank-you to PCFA and Movember. They funded the ProPSMA clinical trial back in 2015 when few had heard of this new technology. Their support and vision was critical to enable this 10-site Australian study producing the highest level of evidence."

The trial was supported by two co-operative groups, the Australasian Radiopharmaceutical Trials Network (ArtNET) and the ANZUP Cancer Trials Group.