Incidence of Prostate Cancer
According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), approximately 165,000 men in the United States were newly diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2018. This accounts for almost 10% of all new cancer cases and makes it the second most common cancer to affect men. It is estimated that approximately 11% of men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point during their lifetime.
Survival Rates with Early Diagnosis
Fortunately, the overall 5-year survival rate is more than 98% and this is because most cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed when they are limited to the prostate (78%) or nearby lymph nodes (12%). When caught early, the 5-year relative survival is almost 100%. However, if caught late, the 5-year rate drops to only 30%. As a result, it is critically important to diagnose a patient's prostate cancer as early as possible.
Assessing the Long-Term Cancer Risk
Because the majority of prostate cancer cases progress slowly, many prostate cancers don't need immediate treatment. To help doctors assess how aggressively to treat your newly diagnosed prostate cancer, they need to assess the risk. They do this by categorizing the tumors into three general risk groups based on the tumor extension, prostate-specific antigen (PSA), and prostate biopsy results. Tumors are generally categorized as "low-risk", "intermediate-risk" or "high-risk".
Treating Localized Prostate Cancer
Although localized prostate cancer has a very high chance of being cured with treatment, it is not without significant risk and side-effects. There are three traditional approaches to treating “low-risk” or “intermediate-risk” localized prostate cancer: active surveillance, surgery and radiation therapy.