Approximately 1 in 8 men in the United States will receive a prostate cancer diagnosis in their lifetime. More than 99% of prostate cancers occur in men over age 50.
Prostate cancer is the most diagnosed cancer in men. The National Cancer Institute estimates that
Prostate cancer is rare in men under age 40. Most men are over age
Read on to learn more about how common prostate cancer is, what factors put you at risk, and how to prevent it.
According to the
Most men who receive a diagnosis of prostate cancer survive more than 5 years. More than 3.1 million men diagnosed with prostate cancer are still alive.
Prostate cancer most commonly occurs in people ages 65 to 74. The average age at the time of diagnosis is 66 years. More than
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Louisiana has the higher rates of prostate cancer in the continental United States and Arizona has the lowest.
Metastatic cancer on the rise in younger people
Rates of metastatic prostate cancer seem to be on the rise in the United States. Metastatic cancer means the cancer has spread to distant organs.
Researchers found that the increase may correlate with changes in screening guidelines from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.
In 2008, the task force recommended against routine prostate cancer screening for men older than age 75. In 2012, the task force recommended against routine screening for all men.
Should you undergo periodic screening for prostate cancer?
According to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, periodic screening for prostate cancer offers a small potential benefit of reducing the chance of death in some people.
However, the decision to undergo screening must be weighed against the potential drawbacks of screening. These include:
- false-positive test results
- the need for additional testing, such as biopsies
- potential complications, such as incontinence and erectile dysfunction
If you’re considering periodic screening for prostate cancer, talk with a doctor about your individual risk factors and the pros and cons of screening.
American Cancer Society’s recommendations for prostate cancer screening
The American Cancer Society recommends that all people who are considering prostate cancer screening receive information about the
For people who decide to go ahead with screening, the American Cancer Society offers the following guidelines:
- Age 50 for men at average risk: These people are expected to live at least 10 more years.
- Age 45 for men at high risk: This includes African Americans and men who have a first degree relative (father or brother) who had prostate cancer at an early age (younger than age 65).
- Age 40 for men at even higher risk: This includes those with more than one first degree relative who had prostate cancer at an early age.
Age is the
Other risks for developing prostate cancer include:
- Race: In the United States, prostate cancer is
most commonin African Americans. Asian and Hispanic people develop it less often than non-Hispanic white people. Learn more about prostate cancer survival rates in Black Americans.
- Location: Prostate cancer has the
highest ratesin North America and northern Europe.
- Obesity: According to the National Health Service, some recent evidence suggests there may be a link between obesity and prostate cancer.
- Dietary factors: There’s some
evidencethat a diet high in dairy, but not in nondairy calcium, may slightly increase the risk of developing prostate cancer.
Learn more about prostate cancer risk factors here.
Your doctor may suspect that inherited genes are contributing to your prostate cancer if you have:
- three or more first degree relatives with prostate cancer (children, siblings, or parents)
- prostate cancer in three generations on one side of your family
- two or more close relatives, such as an uncle, nephew, or parent, who had prostate cancer before age 55
Many of the risk factors for prostate cancer, such as your genetics, race, and age, are out of your control. No preventive measures have been definitively proven to reduce your chances of developing prostate cancer.
To minimize your prostate cancer risk, the
- getting to and maintaining a moderate weight
- staying physically active
- eating a balanced diet, which includes:
- a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables
- whole grains
- limited amount of processed meats, sugary drinks, and highly processed foods
Learn more about diet and prostate cancer.
Frequent ejaculation may lower the risk of prostate cancer
Frequent ejaculation may be linked to a lower risk of prostate cancer.
In a 2016 study, researchers found men ages 20 to 49 who ejaculated 21 times per month had about a 20% lower chance of developing prostate cancer than men who ejaculated four to seven times per month.
Why is prostate cancer so common?
Prostate cancer becomes more common with age. Medical professionals expect that rates will increase as the population ages. About
What are the initial symptoms of prostate cancer?
Prostate cancer usually doesn’t cause symptoms until it’s large enough to put pressure on your urethra. Your urethra is the tube that carries urine out of your body from your bladder.
Initial symptoms may include:
- frequent urination
- difficulty starting urine stream
- weak urine flow
- feeling like your bladder hasn’t completely emptied
- blood in your urine or semen
Learn more about prostate cancer symptoms here.
Is prostate cancer usually fatal?
The 5-year relative survival rate of prostate cancer is about
Learn more about prostate cancer stages and survival rates here.
What percentage of men develop prostate cancer?
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in men in the United States. It’s estimated that about 1 in 8 men will be diagnosed in their lifetime. African American men have the highest risk of developing prostate cancer.
Maintaining a moderate weight, eating a balanced diet, and exercising regularly may help prevent your chances of developing prostate cancer.
Some research suggests that frequent ejaculation may also decrease your risk, but more research is needed to understand the link.