Nationally, prostate cancer accounts for 30% of all male cancers and 11% of male cancer-related deaths. Among Colorado men, prostate cancer is by far the most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second most common cause of cancer death.
Among Colorado men, prostate cancer is by far the most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second most common cause of cancer death. A steep rise in prostatic cancer incidence rates in Colorado from the late 1980s to 1992 was followed by almost as steep a drop in rates through 1998. This pattern occurred in many states throughout the U.S. and coincided with wide adoption of the prostate specific antigen (PSA) screening test.
The Colorado incidence rate for prostate cancer was stable between 1997 and 2007. Mortality rates decreased 19% from 1997 to 2007 in Colorado, possibly due to improvements in early detection. Age, race/ethnicity and family history are factors that affect the risk for prostate cancer.
About 80% of all men with clinically diagnosed prostate cancer are age 65 years or older. Because prostate cancer usually occurs at an age when conditions such as heart disease and stroke cause death, many more men die with prostate cancer rather than because of it. Less than 10% of men with prostate cancer die of the disease within five years of diagnosis.
Effective measures to prevent prostate cancer have not been determined. Many physicians recommend screening to their patients, and in recent years, a substantial proportion of men in the United States have been screened. Although screening detects some prostate cancers early in their growth, it is not yet known whether it saves lives or whether treatment reduces disability and death from this disease.
Further, there are concerns that for some men, screening and treatment may do more harm than good. Current medical tests cannot predict the growth of prostate cancers. Slower-growing cancers might not require treatment (surgery or radiation), which commonly causes impotence and incontinence. Thus, the harms of treatment may outweigh the benefits. Moreover, it is unclear how well treatment works for faster-growing prostate cancers. Studies now underway will tell us more about the effectiveness of screening and treatment.