Everyone’s situation will be unique, so if you’ve received a diagnosis of prostate cancer, speak with your doctor about expectations and next steps.

Your prostate is a gland about the size of a walnut that surrounds your urethra and sits below your bladder. Cancer can form in your prostate.

Prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer, both in the United States and worldwide, and it’s also one of the leading causes of cancer death.

If you have prostate cancer, you might be wondering about survival rates.

Survival rates can be measured in different ways, but what they have in common is that they’re based on statistics and large data sets. They’re only meant to be guides though. Your own personal circumstances will be unique.

Let’s review the different ways to look at prostate cancer survival rates.

One way to generalize the outlook for someone with prostate cancer is with 5-year relative survival rates. These rates measure what percentage of people are alive 5 years after receiving a diagnosis of prostate cancer compared with the general population. These rates can be grouped by how advanced the cancer is when someone receives the diagnosis.

Localized prostate cancer

Localized prostate cancer is when the cancer hasn’t spread outside of your prostate. The 5-year relative survival rate for people in this group is greater than 99%, meaning the risk of dying within 5 years is less than 1% elevated compared with those without prostate cancer.

Regional prostate cancer

Regional prostate cancer is when the cancer has spread to the area directly around your prostate or the nearby lymph nodes, organs that filter substances in your body. The 5-year relative survival rate for people in this group is greater than 99%.

Distant prostate cancer

Distant prostate cancer (also called metastatic prostate cancer) is usually when the cancer has spread beyond your pelvis to other tissues in your body, such as your organs or bones. The 5-year relative survival rate for people in this group is 32%.

Another way to group prostate cancer survival rates is by age. Let’s look at a few different age groups. Remember that these numbers represent averages. A doctor can provide more information specific to your own diagnosis.

Younger than 50

Prostate cancer is often a slow-growing cancer, sometimes requiring only monitoring for many years without any other treatment. Prostate cancer is rarely fatal in people younger than 50 years old.

But those younger than 50 years old with prostate cancer have a 5-year relative survival rate of 59%.

Ages 50–60

For people in this age group with low-grade prostate cancer, their annual risk of death is 0.4%. For those with high-grade prostate cancer, their annual risk is 3.7%.

Ages 60–75

In this age group, the low-grade annual risk of death is 0.6%, while the high-grade risk is 3.0%.

Older than 75

In this age group, the low-grade annual risk of death is 1.5%, while the high-grade risk is 4.1%.

But if prostate cancer is localized to your prostate or has only spread to nearby lymph nodes within your pelvis, there’s a chance it can be cured. But in some cases, your cancer can return. Prostate cancer is considered incurable if it has spread beyond your pelvis.

The treatment with the greatest chance of curing your prostate cancer is to remove your prostate in a surgery called a radical prostatectomy.

But completely curing your prostate cancer may not be your treatment goal.

All medical treatments come with some amount of risk of complication. Related to prostate cancer, there are risks associated with prostate surgeries, radiation, and even biopsies.

Because prostate cancer can be slow to grow and spread, the risks of treatment are sometimes greater than the risks of simply monitoring your cancer. Deciding how to approach your prostate cancer treatment is something you can discuss with a doctor.

When looking at the long-term outlook for someone with prostate cancer, it’s important to keep in mind that prostate cancer is frequently diagnosed in older adults.

For that reason, let’s look at rates of all-cause mortality as well as cancer-specific mortality for someone after they receive a diagnosis of prostate cancer. All-cause mortality rate is a measure of the total number of deaths from any cause in a specific group of people over a specific period of time.

Prognosis (years after diagnosis)Cancer-specific mortality rateAll-cause mortality rate

One important factor to consider is ethnicity. Specifically, African Americans are much more likely to have prostate cancer — and to have it earlier — than the general population. There are many socioeconomic and genetic factors that may contribute to this effect.

Other factors like your prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels or the cancer’s stage at the time you receive the diagnosis could also affect your long-term outlook.

It’s never easy to get a cancer diagnosis. The outlook for people with prostate cancer is generally very good, but the next steps may be difficult both physically and emotionally.

You’ll want to quickly work with a doctor to determine your goals and come up with a treatment plan. Ask a doctor about when your treatment should start, the potential side effects, and how to prepare.

Prostate cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed types of cancers worldwide.

Often times, it’s discovered early enough that the only treatment that’s needed is active surveillance, where you and your doctors closely monitor your symptoms and the cancer. When prostate cancer is caught early, the outlook for someone with it is generally very good.