Prostate Cancer Facts and Statistics: What You Need to Know

Prostate cancer is a type of cancer that begins in the prostate, a small gland in the male reproductive system located between the bladder and the penis.

After skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men in the United States. About 268,490 new cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed annually. In 2019, about 3.3 million men were living with prostate cancer in the United States. Typically, prostate cancer grows slowly and has a good prognosis.

This article will highlight important facts and statistics you should know about prostate cancer.

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Prostate Cancer Overview

Prostate cancer happens when cancer forms in the tissue of the prostate. The prostate is about the size of a walnut and produces a fluid that makes up part of semen.

How Common Is Prostate Cancer?

About 1 in every 8 men in the United States will be diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Prostate cancer accounts for 14% of all new cancer cases in the United States.

The incidence rates for prostate cancer declined in the late 2000s and 2010s, partly due to screening guidelines that resulted in less testing. From 2014 to 2018, the incidence rates remained steady for widespread and local-stage diseases but increased by 4% to 6% each year for advanced-stage prostate cancer.

Prostate Cancer by Ethnicity

Prostate cancer is more likely to affect non-Hispanic Black men. About 1 in 7 Black men will develop prostate cancer. Black men are 1.7 times more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer than White men and more than twice as likely to die from it.

Black Men and Prostate Cancer

Researchers don't know precisely why incidence and death rates are higher among Black men. They believe socioeconomic factors and less access to medical care play a role. One study found Black men with early-stage prostate cancer were less likely than White men to receive any form of treatment.

Prostate Cancer by Age

Age is the number one risk factor for prostate cancer. The older the man, the more likely he is to develop the disease.

About 6 out of every 10 cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed in men who are 65 or older. The average age at the time of diagnosis is around 66.

Prostate Cancer in Younger Men

When prostate cancer affects younger men, it's often more aggressive.

Causes of Prostate Cancer and Risk Factors

As with many cancers, researchers aren't sure exactly what causes prostate cancer, but they know it occurs when changes, or mutations, occur in a person's DNA.

Common risk factors for prostate cancer include:

  • Older age
  • Race
  • A family history of prostate cancer
  • Exposure to harmful chemicals
  • A high-fat diet that's also high in red meat and high-fat dairy products
  • Obesity 

What Are the Mortality Rates for Prostate Cancer?

Most men who have prostate cancer don’t die from it. Still, prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related death in men in the United States, behind lung cancer. About one in every 41 men will die of prostate cancer.

The five-year relative survival rate for all stages of prostate cancer is 98%. This means that, on average, men with prostate cancer are about 98% as likely as men who don’t have prostate cancer to be alive at least five years after diagnosis. Of course, survival rates are general predictions and depend on the stage of cancer, the treatments the patient receives, and other factors.

Are Death Rates Declining?

Data shows that age-adjusted death rates for prostate cancer have been falling, on average, 1.5% each year from 2010 to 2019.

Screening and Early Detection 

Screening is performed to detect cancer before it causes symptoms. Catching prostate cancer early can result in a more favorable outlook. Healthcare providers may be able to treat the cancer before it spreads to other places in the body.

Some methods used to screen for prostate cancer include:

  • Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test: This test measures the level of PSA, a substance made by the prostate, in the blood. Men with prostate cancer may have higher PSA levels than those without. Healthcare providers may recommend a biopsy if a man’s PSA is elevated or abnormal.
  • Digital rectal examination (DRE): During a DRE, healthcare providers insert a lubricated, gloved finger into a man’s rectum to feel the prostate to detect any abnormalities.

Recommendations about prostate cancer screening include:

  • Men between the ages of 55 and 69 should make an individual decision about being screened with a PSA test.
  • Before the screening, men should talk to their healthcare providers about the benefits and risks.
  • Men 70 years or older should not be screened for prostate cancer on a routine basis.


Prostate cancer is a common disease that affects mainly older men. When it’s caught early, prostate cancer is usually curable. But in some cases, the cancer is aggressive and challenging to treat. Identifying risk factors can help men determine whether or not screening is a good option. Talk to your healthcare provider about the risks and benefits of screening for prostate cancer.

11 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  2. American Cancer Society. Key statistics about prostate cancer.

  3. National Cancer Institute. Cancer stat facts: Prostate cancer.

  4. Cancer.Net. Prostate cancer: statistics.

  5. Zero Cancer: The End of Prostate Cancer. African americans and prostate cancer.

  6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Who is at risk for prostate cancer?

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  8. MedlinePlus. Prostate cancer.

  9. Johns Hopkins. Prostate cancer risk factors.

  10. American Cancer Society. Survival rates for prostate cancer.

  11. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). What is screening for prostate cancer?