Prostate Cancer Facts & Figures in Brief

Are PSA Tests to Screen for Prostate Cancer Underutilized?

Each year in January, the American Cancer Society’s Surveillance Research team publishesCancer Statisticsin CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. The article provides the estimated numbers of new cancer cases and deaths expected in the US for the year ahead. 

The information is also available in a companion PDF report Cancer Facts & Figures. This report gives a detailed analysis and estimations of cancer incidence, survival, and mortality trends in the US. It also has the latest information on risk factors, early detection, treatment, and current research.

Here are some 2022 facts and figures specific to prostate cancer.

  • Prostate cancer accounts for 1 in 5 new diagnoses of cancer in men. An estimated 268,490 new cases of prostate cancer are expected to be diagnosed in the US during 2022.
  • Prostate cancer develops mainly in older men. The median age at the time of diagnosis is about 66. It is rare before age 40.
  • The incidence of prostate cancer is about 73% higher in Black men than in White men for reasons that remain unclear. In fact, Black men in the US and Caribbean have the highest documented prostate cancer incidence rates in the world. 
  • An estimated 34,500 men are expected to die of prostate cancer in 2022.
  • The only potentially modifiable risk factors are smoking carrying excess body weight.
  • More than 3.3 million prostate cancer survivors are alive today.

How Changes in PSA Screening Are Affecting Incidence and Risk of Death

The risk of dying from prostate cancer decreased by about 50% from the mid-1990s to the mid-2010s due to improved treatment and earlier detection through screening with prostate specific antigen (PSA) testing, which helps find cancer when it is only in the prostate (localized). But in recent years, the risk of dying from prostate cancer is only decreasing by 0.6% a year. The cause for this slowing progress may be related to changes in screening guidelines.

Despite the contribution of screening to a reduction in mortality, there was increasing evidence that PSA testing was causing undue harm through overdiagnosis and overtreatment of prostate cancer. As a result, the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) changed their screening guidelines.

In 2008, the USPSTF recommended against routine screening with PSA testing for men age 75 and older and in 2012 for all men, which led to fewer men being screened.

At first, reduced PSA testing was followed by rapid declines in the diagnosis of prostate cancer. But from 2014 to 2018, the incidence rate for local-stage disease stayed stable, whereas incidence rates for regional-stage disease rose each year by 4% and by 6% for distant-stage disease.

As a result, the proportion of prostate cancers diagnosed at a distant stage has more than doubled over the past 10 years, from 3.9% to 8.2%.

ACS researchers note that “controversy remains about the underutilized potential of the PSA test” to reduce deaths from prostate cancer by detecting potentially fatal disease earlier.

“One study found that after the 2012 USPSTF guideline changes, there was a steeper drop in PSA testing in Black men than in White men,” says Siegel. “That’s concerning because early detection is especially important for Black men, who are twice as likely to die from prostate cancer as White men.” See the ACS Guidelines for Screening and Early Detection of Prostate Cancer.


Find more statistics about prostate cancer on the Cancer Statistics Center:

  • Estimated new cases and deaths by state
  • Historical trends in incidence rates 
  • Historical trends in death rates
  • 5-year survival rates 

Use the analysis tool in the drop-down menu to see any of these statistics in comparison to other types of cancer.

acs prevention studies

The American Cancer Society's Population Science department includes scientists who work with our large, on-going cancer prevention studies (CPS), such as CPS-II and CPS-3. 

Study Shows Prostate Cancer Survivors Who Eat More Chicken and Less Steak May Live Longer

A CPS-II Nutrition Cohort Study

“The majority of men diagnosed with prostate cancer can survive over 10 years, and they want to know if adopting a healthy lifestyle, including a healthy diet, can increase their future years. Because there is limited research on diet among prostate cancer survivors, we studied data from the CPS-II Nutrition Cohort and found additional evidence that prostate cancer survivors should follow the ACS Nutrition Guidelines for Cancer Prevention, which advises limiting red and processed meat consumption to improve overall survival.”—Ying Wang, PhD

See the highlight about Dr. Wang's published study on diet and prostate cancer.

 

Study Finds that After a Diagnosis of Prostate Cancer, Men Who Have Obesity or Who Gain More than 10 Pounds Are More Likely to Die from All Causes

A CPS-II Nutrition Cohort Study

“Previous studies show that men with obesity may have a higher risk of developing advanced prostate cancer and of dying from it. My research team used data from the CPS-II Nutrition Cohort to see how weight increases after a diagnosis of prostate cancer affected the risk of dying. We found new evidence that men who’ve been diagnosed with prostate cancer should strive to maintain a healthy body weight to improve their survival.—Ying Wang, PhD

See the highlight about Dr. Ying Wang's published study on weight gain in prostate cancer survivors.

 

Spotlight on ACS Research Publications

The American Cancer Society (ACS) employs a staff of full-time researchers and funds scientists across the United States who relentlessly search for answers to help us better understand cancer, including prostate cancer. Here are some highlights of their work.

Study Examines Results After Prostatectomy for Men With 2 Risk Factors—Being Black and Having Obesity

“Being Black and having obesity are both linked to prostate cancer. However, nearly all studies of prostate cancer and obesity have been performed in White men. As such, whether Black race and obesity work synergistically to create a more aggressive cancer is largely unknown. My lab is currently using a large Veterans Affairs database, which includes millions of men with prostate cancer, to learn if obesity and race interact to affect low- vs. high-grade prostate cancer.”Adriana Vidal, PhD

See the highlight about Dr. Vidal's published study.

 

Study Finds Access to Medicaid Alone Does Not Improve the Diagnosis and Treatment of Prostate Cancer

“In my experience as a urologic oncologist, and from my research results, optimizing treatment of men with aggressive prostate cancer likely has to go beyond just granting basic health insurance coverage. We have to identify interventions, be it at the patient, provider, or policy level, that will break deeply ingrained barriers to providing equitable cancer care for underserved communities of people of color and those with a socioeconomic disadvantage.”—Christopher Filson, MD, MS

See the highlight about Dr. Filson's published study.

 

5 Years After Guidelines Recommend Against Routine Prostate Cancer Screening, Later Stage Cancers Continue to Increase—for Unknown Reasons

“It is yet to be seen whether the 2018 updated USPSTF recommendations for informed decision-making for PSA-based screening for men ages 55 to 69 years will lead to an increase in PSA testing and halt or reverse the rise in late-stage prostate cancer- incidence rates.”Ahmedin Jemal, DVM, PhD

 

See the highlight about Dr. Jemal's published study.

 

Study Finds That Enhancing Certain Immune Cells’ Toxicity in Bone May Present a New Treatment Option for Bone Metastatic Prostate Cancer

“Prostate cancer spreads to bone more frequently than to any other place in the body. One type of immune cell, called neutrophils, are generated in bone and have been shown to be important in cancer. My research team predicted that these neutrophils contribute to the cancer’s progression, and we found that neutrophils protect against prostate cancer growth in bone. Current T-cell based immunotherapies for treating prostate cancer have been mostly unsuccessful. The main goal of my research is to identify new immunotherapeutic strategies for treating and curing bone metastatic prostate cancer.”—Leah Cook, PhD

See the highlight about Dr. Cook's published study.

 

Tests Using Heart Medicines in Mice May Spur Future Treatments for Men with Prostate Cancer

The Schlaepfer Lab reported findings in a recently published study about using mice with prostate cancer to study the use of ranolazine, a heart drug to ease chest pain (angina), against prostate cancer. They provided evidence that the drug blocks the growth of prostate cancer in mice by blocking the metabolism of fat, which decreases its use as a tumor “food source.”

See the highlight about Dr. Schlaepfer's published study.

 

Extramural Discovery Grants in Colon and Rectal Cancer

The American Cancer Society funds scientists who conduct research about cancer at medical schools, universities, research institutes, and hospitals throughout the United States. We use a rigorous and independent peer review process to select the most innovative research projects proposals to fund. 

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49

Grants

Total Prostate Cancer Grants in Effect as of March 1, 2021

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$23

Million

Total Prostate Cancer Grant Funding in Effect as of March 1, 2021