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Prostate Cancer Statistics

How common is prostate cancer?

Prostate cancer is the third most common cancer in America, behind breast cancer and lung cancer. It is the second most common cancer in men after skin cancer.1,2 Doctors estimate that about 1 in 9 men in the U.S. will be diagnosed with the condition in their lifetime. The average age of diagnosis is 66.1,2

In 2019, the American Cancer Society predicted nearly 175,000 new cases of prostate cancer, and about 31,000 deaths from the disease. While 1 man in 41 will die of prostate cancer, over 3 million men are living with the condition in the United States alone.2

What types of prostate cancer do men get?

Over 99 percent of prostate cancer cases are known as adenocarcinomas. Cancer is graded into stages based on how advanced it is.3 More than two-thirds of men (77 percent) are diagnosed at stages 1 and 2. This is when the cancer is local to the prostate and the easiest to treat. Stages 3 and 4, when the cancer has spread outside the prostate, makes up roughly 13 percent of cases. Advanced stage 4, where the cancer has moved far beyond the prostate, accounts for 6 percent of cases. The remaining 4 percent are unknown or unstaged.1

Who gets prostate cancer?

Prostate cancer develops mostly in older men.1 It is extremely rare for it to be diagnosed before age 45. Just under 10 percent of cases are diagnosed between ages 45 and 54. Over 70 percent of diagnoses occur between 55 and 74. Less than 20 percent of cases are diagnosed at age 75 or older.1

African American men have the highest rates of prostate cancer, followed by Caucasian, Hispanic, Asian/Pacific Islander, and Native American men. African American men also tend to get more aggressive prostate cancer compared to Caucasian men.

Black men in the Caribbean and Europe also have higher rates compared to their neighbors. However, men living in Africa have much lower rates. This suggests that both genes and environment play a role in who gets prostate cancer.1,4

New cases of prostate cancer peaked in the 1990s and began to decline after 2010. Five year survival rates have improved from 66 percent in 1975 to 99 percent in 2011, and continue to decline. Scientists believe the wide-spread use of PSA tests are catching cancer earlier and treatments have improved.1,4

Does prostate cancer run in families?

Between 5 and 20 percent of prostate cancer cases are inherited. Researchers estimate that if a man has one close relative, such as a father or brother with the condition, his risk of developing prostate cancer is doubled. If a man has two close relatives with the condition, his risk increases five-fold.4,5

Who dies from prostate cancer?

The five-year relative survival rate for prostate cancer is roughly 98 percent in people diagnosed between 2009-2015.6 Ten and 15 years after diagnosis, over 90 percent of men with prostate cancer are still alive.7 As with most cancers, survival rates are best if the prostate cancer is found and treated in its early stages.

Unfortunately, African American men have the highest death rate from prostate cancer, followed by Native Americans, Caucasians, and Asians or Pacific Islanders. Overall, the average age of death is 80.1

There is no known way to prevent prostate cancer. However, studies from around world show that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and lower in fat may reduce risk.4

Written by: Casey Hribar & Jessica Johns Pool | Last reviewed: November 2019
  1. SEER Cancer Stat Facts: Prostate cancer. National Cancer Institute. https://seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/html/prost.html. Published 4/2017. Accessed 6/3/19.
  2. American Cancer Society. Key Statistics for Prostate Cancer. https://www.cancer.org/cancer/prostate-cancer/about/key-statistics.html. Published 8/1/19. Accessed 11/6/19.
  3. Types of Prostate Cancer. Cancer Treatment Centers of America. http://www.cancercenter.com/prostate-cancer/types/. Accessed 8/10/17.
  4. Rawla P. Epidemiology of Prostate Cancer. World J Oncol. 2019 Apr;10(2):63-89. doi: 10.14740/wjon1191. Epub 2019 Apr 20. PMID: 31068988; PMCID: PMC6497009.
  5. Inherited Risk for Prostate Cancer. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/risk-assessment-screening/hereditary-genetics/genetic-counseling/inherited-risk-prostate. Accessed 8/10/17.
  6. Cancer Statistics Center. American Cancer Society. https://cancerstatisticscenter.cancer.org/#/. Accessed 11/6/19.
  7. Skolarus TA, Wolf AM, Erb NL, et al. American Cancer Society prostate cancer survivorship care guidelines. CA Cancer J Clin. 2014;64:225-249.