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Prostate Cancer Frequently Asked Questions
  • Prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer in men in the U.S., and the 4th most common tumor diagnosed worldwide.
  • In the United States, 1 in 8 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime.
  • For Black men, 1 in 6 will develop prostate cancer and are more than twice as likely to die from the disease.
  • In 2023, more than 288,000 U.S. men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, and more than 34,000 will die from the disease. That’s one new case diagnosed every 2 minutes and another death from prostate cancer every 15 minutes.
  • A man is more likely to develop prostate cancer than he is to develop colon, kidney, melanoma, and stomach cancers combined.
  • It is estimated that more than 3 million U.S. men are living with prostate cancer.
  • Prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer in men in the U.S., and the 4th most common tumor diagnosed worldwide.
  • A man is more likely to develop prostate cancer than he is to develop colon, kidney, melanoma, and stomach cancers combined.
  • The chance of being diagnosed with prostate cancer increases rapidly after age 50. About 6 in 10 of all prostate cancers are diagnosed in men over the age of 65.
  • For Black men, 1 in 6 will develop prostate cancer and are more than twice as likely to die from the disease. You can read more about prostate cancer in Black men here.
  • Prostate cancer is among the most heritable of the major human cancers; It is estimated that more than half (57%) of prostate cancer risk is due to genetic factors.
More than 80% of all prostate cancers are detected when the cancer is in the prostate or the region around it, so treatment success rates are high compared to most other types of cancer in the body. The 5-year overall survival rates in the United States for men diagnosed with local or regional prostate cancer exceed 99%. In other words, the chances of men dying from their prostate cancer is generally low. However, prostate cancer comes in many forms, and some prostate cancers can be aggressive even when they first appear to be confined to the prostate.

What are the symptoms of prostate cancer?

If the cancer is caught at its earliest stages, most men will not experience any symptoms. Some men, however, will experience symptoms such as frequent, hesitant, or burning urination, difficulty in having an erection, or pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips or upper thighs.
Because these symptoms can also indicate the presence of other diseases or disorders, men who experience any of these symptoms will undergo a thorough work-up to determine the underlying cause of the symptoms. You can read more about prostate cancer symptoms here.

If there are no symptoms, how is prostate cancer detected?

Screening for prostate cancer can be performed in a physician’s office. Prostate specific antigen (PSA) testing is the current test of choice for prostate cancer screening. During a PSA test, a small amount of blood is drawn from the arm, and the level of PSA is measured.
When there’s a problem with the prostate—such as the development and growth of prostate cancer—more PSA is released. This can be the first indicator of prostate cancer. More testing, such as digital rectal exam (DRE), imaging, and, ultimately, a biopsy, is required to confirm a diagnosis.
There are a wide variety of treatment options available for men with prostate cancer, including surgery, radiation therapy, hormone therapy and chemotherapy, any or all of which might be used at different times depending on the stage of disease and the need for treatment.
Consultation with all three types of prostate cancer specialists—a urologist, a radiation oncologist and a medical oncologist—will offer the most comprehensive assessment of the available treatments and expected outcomes. For men with advanced disease or an increased risk due to family history or lifestyle, precision treatments based on genetic screening may be recommended.
More information regarding treatments for prostate cancer can be found on our website here.
Additional information about prostate cancer can be found through our Understanding Prostate Cancer section, our guides and the Treatment Options section of our website. You can order a paper copy or download our guides in pdf format here.
1. Eat fewer calories and exercise more so that you maintain a healthy weight.
2. Try to keep the amount of fat you get from red meat and dairy products to a minimum.
3. Watch your calcium intake. Do not take supplemental doses far above the recommended daily allowance. Some calcium is OK, but avoid taking more than 1,200 mg per day.
4. Eat more fish – evidence from several studies suggest that fish can help protect against prostate cancer because they have “good fat,” particularly omega-3 fatty acids. Avoid trans fatty acids (for example, in margarine).
5. Incorporate cooked tomatoes (prepared with olive oil), which may be beneficial, and cruciferous vegetables (like broccoli and cauliflower) into many of your weekly meals. Soy-based foods and green tea are also potential dietary components that may be helpful.
6. Avoid smoking for many reasons. Drink alcohol in moderation, if at all.
7. Seek medical treatment for stress, high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, and depression. Treating these conditions may save your life and will improve your survivorship with prostate cancer.
8. Avoid over-supplementation with megavitamins. While a multivitamin is not likely to be harmful, you probably don’t need it if you follow a healthy diet with lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, and healthy oils. Ask your doctor about herbal supplements as some may harm you or interfere with treatment.
9. Relax and enjoy life. Reducing stress in the workplace and home will improve your survivorship and lead to a longer, happier life.
10. For men 45 or older (40 or older for Black men or those with a family history of prostate cancer), discuss the risks and benefits of screening with a PSA test and, if indicated, a rectal examination, with your doctor.
Download a PDF version of this list here
The Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) is the world’s leading philanthropic organization dedicated to funding life-saving prostate cancer research. Founded in 1993 by Mike Milken, PCF has been responsible for raising more than $1 billion in support of cutting-edge research through more than 2,250 research projects at 245 leading cancer centers, with a global footprint spanning 28 countries. Since PCF’s inception, and through its efforts, patients around the world are living longer, suffering fewer complications, and enjoying better quality of life. PCF is committed to creating a global public square for prostate cancer, in service to our mission of ending death and suffering from the disease.
The Prostate Cancer Foundation has accomplished a great deal, but there is still much more to do. Please join us in this race to find a cure for prostate cancer and donate today.
There are many options for treatment at all stages of prostate cancer. If you are diagnosed with prostate cancer, make sure to get on the “right track”: that is, the right team, the right tests, and the right treatments, right from the start. Learn more at pcf.org/therighttrack.
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