Incidence of Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer is the leading type of non-skin cancer in the US, and the second leading cause of cancer worldwide; approximately 1 in 9 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point in their lives. Prostate cancer incidence increases with age: the older you are, the greater your chance of developing it.
Although only about 1 in 350 men under age 50 will be diagnosed, the rate shoots up to 1 in 52 for ages 50 to 59, 1 in 19 for ages 60 to 69, and 1 in 11 for men 70 and older. Nearly 60% of all prostate cancers are diagnosed in men over the age of 65.
Prostate cancer is diagnosed with a biopsy. The most common reason for a man to undergo a prostate biopsy is due to an elevated prostate-specific antigen level, or PSA, determined by a blood test. Recent changes in PSA screening recommendations have affected the rates of prostate cancer diagnosis.
Learn more about screening for prostate cancer.
While prostate cancer incidence rates are high, the good news is that approximately 95% of all prostate cancers are detected when the cancer is confined to the prostate, and treatment success rates are high compared with most other types of cancer in the body.
The 5-year survival rate in the United States for men diagnosed with prostate cancer is 99%. In other words, the chance of the cancer spreading, or of a man dying from his prostate cancer, is generally low. However, prostate cancer comes in many forms and some men can have aggressive prostate cancer even when it appears to be confined to the prostate.
Amidst so much optimism and progress in the last 10 years, it’s important to keep in mind that prostate cancer is still a deadly disease for some men, and it is the second leading cause of cancer death among men in the US, with nearly 88 men dying from it every day.
In general, the earlier the cancer is caught and treated, the more likely the patient will remain disease-free. In fact, many men with “low-risk” tumors, which are the most common type of prostate cancer, can safely undergo active surveillance, or watchful waiting, in which they are monitored without immediate treatment (and treatment-related side effects) while still preserving their chance of long-term survival if the cancer becomes aggressive enough to require treatment.