Prostate Cancer

Other than skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men. In fact, it is estimated that more than 230,000 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year alone. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), after lung cancer, prostate cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among American men. The good news, however, is that the current survival rate is 97 percent. On average, an American man has a 30 percent risk of having prostate cancer in his lifetime, but only a 3 percent risk of dying of the disease.

The other good news is that among all racial and ethnic groups, prostate cancer death rates are declining. Perhaps the most encouraging prostate cancer statistic is that more men die with prostate cancer than from prostate cancer. The reason could be twofold: prostate cancer typically affects men older than 65 and, it is often a slowly progressing disease. (See our list of prostate cancer education materials.)

For many men, a diagnosis of prostate cancer can be frightening not only because of the threat to their life, but because of the threat to their life style, particularly sexual function. The possible consequences of treatment, including bladder control problems and impotence, also known as erectile dysfunction, can be a greater worry for some men than the cancer itself. (For more information, see "Managing Erectile Dysfunction - A Patient Guide.")

If prostate cancer is detected early — when it's still confined to the prostate — you have a better chance of successful treatment with minimal or short-term side effects.

Here are other some other significant prostate cancer statistics:

  • Prostate cancer represents over 32 percent of all new cancer cases in American men.
  • About 70 percent of prostate cancer diagnoses are made in men 65 years or older.
  • Only about 25 percent of prostate cancer cases occur in men under 65.
  • The average age at diagnosis is 72.
  • One in six American men has a risk of developing prostate cancer at some time in his life. If a close relative has prostate cancer, his risk more than doubles.
  • African-American men have the highest incidence of prostate cancer. The death rate for prostate cancer is more than double for African American men compared to Caucasian men.
  • Asian men have a relatively low rate of prostate cancer compared to other ethnic groups.

Our approach to prostate cancer

UCSF offers the latest diagnostic tools and treatments for prostate cancer. These range from close monitoring for low-risk cancers that don't need immediate treatment to precisely targeted radiation therapy and robot-assisted surgery. Our mission is to not only control or cure the cancer but to ensure our patients enjoy the best possible quality of life during treatment and beyond.

Learn more about prostate cancer care at UCSF

Awards & recognition

  • usnews-neurology

    Best hospital in Northern California

  • Best in Northern California in cancer care

  • usnews-urology

    Best in Northern California in urology

  • n1-2x

    in NIH funding for urology research

UCSF Health medical specialists have reviewed this information. It is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or other health care provider. We encourage you to discuss any questions or concerns you may have with your provider.