Prostate Cancer Incidence Fact Sheet

  • Prostate cancer is the most common cancer (excluding skin cancer) in American men. An estimated 180,400 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed in the United States during 2000.1
  • Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in men (exceeded only by lung cancer). An estimated 31,900 men in the United States will die of prostate cancer during 2000.2
  • Between 1973 and 1993, the rate of new cases of prostate cancer rose by 173 percent, due in part to more widespread prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening and in part to the aging of the U.S. population.3
  • One out of 10 American men will develop the disease at some point in his life, most after age 65. 4
  • Eighty-nine percent of men diagnosed with prostate cancer survive at least five years; 63 percent survive at least 10 years. 5
  • African-American men have the highest prostate cancer incidence and mortality rates in the world (a 9.8 percent lifetime risk of developing the cancer compared to 8 percent risk for United States white men),6 and are twice as likely to die from it as other men with prostate cancer. 7 Asian men have the lowest incidence of prostate cancer. 8 Researchers do not have a complete explanation for the ethnic variance, although diet may play a role.
  • The risk of developing prostate cancer begins to increase at age 50 in white men who have no family history of the disease and at age 40 in African-American men and men who have a first-degree relative (father, brother) with prostate cancer. Risk increases with age, however unlike other cancers, prostate cancer has no "peak" age. 9
  • True hereditary prostate cancer occurs in a very small number of men and tends to develop at a very young age (younger than 55 years old). 10
  • The American Cancer Society and the American Urological Association recommend annual prostate specific antigen tests, along with a digital rectal exam for all men over 50 and beginning at age 40 for high-risk men. 11 If prostate cancer is detected early, treatment can be effective and have minimal morbidity.


1, 2, 5 American Cancer Society website, "What is Prostate Cancer," p. 2. Updated 6/7/99.

3,8 National Cancer Institute website, Prostate Cancer backgrounder, p. 1. Updated 10/97.

4American Foundation for Urological Disease website, "Treatment Choices for Localized Prostate Cancer"

6, 9, 10 Pienta, Kenneth J, MD, Sandler, Howard, MD and Sanda, Martin G, MD,Cancer Management: A Multidisciplinary Approach, Third Edition, 1999

7 National Prostate Cancer Coalition website, "Prostate Cancer Facts and Statistics"

11 John Henkel, "Prostate Cancer: No one Answer for Testing and Treatment." FDA Consumer, v32, n5, p. 22(6), Sept-Oct, 1998.

Source: National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health