Prostate cancer is a cancer that arises in the prostate gland. In the UK, it is the second most common cancer in men. (The most common is non-melanoma skin cancer.) Just under 35 000 men each year are told they have prostate cancer. The vast majority are over 50; prostate cancer is very rare in younger men, unlike testicular cancer.
Some studies of post mortem samples have shown that the risk of cancer of the prostate increases with age. Researchers estimate that all men who live to be 100 years old have prostate cancer. Many men develop prostate cancer in their later years but are never aware of it because it doesn’t cause any symptoms. They eventually die of something completely unrelated.
This article on prostate cancer is by Kathryn Senior, a freelance journalist who writes health, medical, biological, and pharmaceutical articles for national and international journals, newsletters and web sites.
Prostate cancer survival rates are good
Treatments for prostate cancer have been refined in the last 30 years and survival rates have increased. In 1986, 42% of men diagnosed with prostate cancer lived for at least 5 years – but by 1999, this had risen to 65%. More recent figures from the USA suggest that close to 100% of men found to have prostate cancer now survive for at least 5 years – and 91% survive at least 10 years. The prospects for successful treatment of prostate cancer are now excellent.
In rare cases, prostate cancer can be quite aggressive and it can spread beyond the prostate gland and to other parts of the body, particularly to the bones.