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Prostate Cancer Statistics

How Common is Prostate Cancer?

The epidemiology, or the study of the incidence or frequency, possible control, and distribution or pattern of prostate cancer, has been well documented in recent years. 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 It has been estimated that approximately 11.6% of men in the US will be diagnosed with the condition in their lifetime, with the average age of diagnosis being 66.1,2

Over 99% of prostate cancer cases are classified as adenocarcinomas, however, the condition can be further classified into stages based on progression.3 Localized prostate cancer includes stages 1 and 2, and makes up roughly 77% of all prostate cancer cases. Regional prostate cancer comprises stages 3 and 4, and makes up roughly 13%. Distant prostate cancer contains the rest of stage 4 that has progressed far beyond the prostate, and makes up 6% of cases. The remaining 4% of cases are unknown or unstaged.1

Who gets prostate cancer?

Prostate cancer is sex-specific, due to the prostate only being present in males. There are approximately three million men living with the condition in the United States alone, and it develops predominately in older men.1 It is extremely rare for prostate cancer to be diagnosed before age 45, however, 8.7% of cases are diagnosed between 45-54 years old. The vast majority, over 70%, of diagnoses occur between 55 and 74. Less than 20% of cases are diagnosed at age 75 or older.1 Roughly 5-10% of prostate cancer cases are hereditary in nature, and it is estimated 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

Aside from genetics, there are varying incidence rates amongst different race and ethnic groups. For example, according to data from 2012-2016, African American males have the highest prostate cancer incidence rate (or number of new cases developed per year out of 100,000 individuals), at 176.7. White males have the next highest incidence rate at 101.9, followed by Asian or Pacific Islander males at 55.6, and American Indian or Alaskan Native men at 55.4. In terms of ethnicity, non-Hispanics demonstrate a higher incidence rate at 112.0 than their Hispanic counterparts at 93.4.1

The incidence rate of prostate cancer peaked in the 1990’s, affecting roughly 240 out of every 100,000 men yearly. The incidence rate decreased, reaching about 123.3 from 2009-2013, and continued its decline to hit a low of 109.5 in 2016.1 It’s estimated that in 2019, roughly 174,680 new cases will be diagnosed, making up 9.9% of all new cancer cases.1,2

Survival and mortality statistics

The five-year relative survival rate for prostate cancer has been estimated at roughly 99% based on individuals diagnosed between 2009-2015.5 This means that when compared to other males of roughly the same demographic, those with prostate cancer are nearly 99% as likely as those without to survive five years post-diagnosis. In recent years, the relative survival rate is beyond 90% for both 10 and 15 years post-diagnosis.6

More specifically, the five-year relative survival rate can be broken down based on stage of prostate cancer. Survival rate is the highest for earlier stages, and the lowest for late stages. Those with local stage prostate cancer, or stages 1 and 2, have a five-year survival rate of nearly 100%, while regional and distant prostate cancers, which comprise stages 3 and 4, have nearly 100% and 29% five-year survival rates, respectively.7 It is important to note that figures like these are only estimates, utilizing data from previous cases as a guide.

Although the five-year survival rate is high for prostate cancer across many stages of the condition, it is estimated that roughly 31,620 men will die from prostate cancer in the United States in 2019. This number represents 5.2% of all cancer deaths.1,2 The highest recorded death rate for prostate cancer was in 1993, at 39.3 deaths out of every 100,000.5 Since then, however, death due to prostate cancer has decreased, and is still showing a downward trend. The most recent death rate has been recorded at 19.2 deaths per 100,000 males of all demographics.5 Breaking down this statistic by race and ethnic background, African American men have the highest death rate from prostate cancer, followed by American Indians or Alaska Natives, Caucasians, and finally, Asians or Pacific Islanders. Overall, the median age for death from prostate cancer is 80 years old.1

Written by: Casey Hribar | Last reviewed: June 2019
  1. SEER Cancer Stat Facts: Prostate cancer. National Cancer Institute. Published April 2017. Accessed June 3, 2019.
  2. Key Statistics for Prostate Cancer. American Cancer Society. Published January 5, 2017. Accessed August 10, 2017.
  3. Types of Prostate Cancer. Cancer Treatment Centers of America. Accessed August 10, 2017.
  4. Inherited Risk for Prostate Cancer. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Accessed August 10, 2017.
  5. Cancer Statistics Center. American Cancer Society. Accessed August 10, 2017.
  6. Skolarus TA, Wolf AM, Erb NL, et al. American Cancer Society prostate cancer survivorship care guidelines. CA Cancer J Clin. 2014;64:225-249.
  7. Survival Rates for Prostate Cancer. American Cancer Society. Published May 30, 2017. Accessed August 10, 2017.