Prostate Cancer Research Highlights

 The American Cancer Society helps men with prostate cancer in every community. And we’re funding research to help find more cures and save even more lives in the future. 

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.

2 Potential New Drug Pathways to a Prostate Cancer Target

The protein EZH2 is highly expressed in aggressive forms of prostate cancer, and cancer cells without the EZH2 gene cannot survive. Many pharmaceutical companies are developing drugs that target the enzymatic function of the protein EZH2 to silence certain genes that drive cancer. However, this strategy does not work well in solid tumors, like prostate cancer. My investigations focus on the novel functions of EZH2 in prostate cancers in order to find new insights about developing drugs to target EZH2 protein.”Qi Cao, PhD

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


Proton Beam Therapy for Prostate Cancer Still Needs Studying

“Current clinical trials are still evaluating whether proton beam radiotherapy targeted to the prostate is a superior way to treat cancer compared to the more traditional photon-based radiotherapy. Even so, one of the most common uses for proton beam radiotherapy in the US is to treat prostate cancer.

“The problem is that this care isn’t affordable for everyone. Public and private health insurance providers need medical evidence from clinical trials to cover a treatment’s costs. Yet, some people don't enroll in a clinical trial because their health insurance won't cover the treatment being studied. These inconsistencies in coverage for treatment not only limits enrollment in clinical trials but also results in racial disparities about who receives proton beam therapy for prostate cancer.

“We need clinical trials to fully understand the effectiveness of proton beam therapy for prostate cancer, and to get men to participate in them and to decrease racial disparities in access to quality and affordable care, it’s crucial for health insurance providers to adopt uniform criteria for covering its costs.”
Leticia Nogueira, PhD, MPH

See the highlight about Dr. Nogueira'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.

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Grants in Prostate Cancer

53 Grants with $25 Million of Funding as of August 1, 2021

We Fund Cancer Researchers Across the US

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. 

Prostate Cancer Statistics in Brief

Are PSA Tests to Screen for Prostate Cancer Underutilized?

Each year the American Cancer Society Surveillance & Health Equity Science team analyzes data on cancer in the United States, including prostate cancer, as part of its Cancer Statistics report in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. The report is accompanied by an educational publication, Cancer Facts & Figures.

These publications provide detailed analyses and estimates of prostate cancer incidence, survival, and mortality trends in the US. They also have the latest information on cancer risk factors, early detection, treatment, and current research.

US 2022 Statistics for Prostate Cancer

  • Other than skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer in men. About 1 in 8 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime.
  • 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. 
  • Smoking and excess body weight are the two risk factors that people with prostates may be able to change to lower their chances for developing an aggressive or fatal form of prostate cancer. 
  • Prostate cancer is the second-leading cause of death from cancer in men. Lung cancer is the first. About 1 man in 41 will die of prostate cancer. 

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 an advanced 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 Rebecca Siegel, MPH, lead author of Cancer Statistics, 2022, and Senior Scientific Director of Surveillance Research at ACS. “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.