By Dr Ananya Mandal, MD
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men in the United Kingdom and the most common cancer aside from skin cancer among men in the United States.
The American Cancer Society's 2013 estimate for cases newly diagnosed prostate cancer in the United States is 238,590 and for deaths from prostate cancer the estimate is 29,720. The society estimates that around 1 in 6 American men will develop prostate cancer during their lifetime.
Prostate cancer is more common among older men, with around 60% of cases occurring in men aged 65 years or older. The cancer rarely occurs in those aged under 40 years and the average age at the time of diagnosis is around 67 years.
Prostate cancer is second only to lung cancer as the largest cause of death from cancer, killing around 1 in 36 men. Although this cancer can be fatal, most men with prostate cancer do not die as a result of the condition and more than 2.5 million men diagnosed with the condition at some point in their life are still alive in the United States today.
In Western Europe, prostate cancer is also the second leading cause of cancer death in men. With an estimated 214 cases diagnosed per 1000 men each year, prostate cancer is the most commonly occurring solid neoplasm in men and accounts for significantly more cases of cancer than lung or colorectal cancer.
In many developed countries, the incidence of prostate cancer rises as the population ages, owing to the fact that the cancer is so much more common in older than in younger men. Statistics show that in developing nations where the elderly population is relatively low, the prevalence of prostate cancer is 4% compared with 15% in the developed nations where the elderly population is high.
Prostate cancer is most prevalent in North America, northwestern Europe, the Caribbean islands and Australia and least prevalent in Africa, Central and South America and Asia.
Reviewed by Sally Robertson, BSc
Last Updated: Jan 16, 2014