Prostate Cancer Incidence and Mortality Rates Are Declining, According to Study

By Josh Garcia
Monday, January 6, 2020

Results presented at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting 2019 show prostate cancer incidence and mortality rates are stabilizing or decreasing in many countries around the world.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer other than skin cancer and the second-leading cause of cancer death among American men, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS). In 2019, there were an estimated 174,650 new cases of prostate cancer in the United States and 31,620 deaths resulting from the disease. Prostate cancer is also the most diagnosed cancer for men in close to 100 countries and the leading cause of cancer death for men in more than 50 nations.

Worldwide Statistics

Despite prostate cancer’s current prevalence, the U.S. and six other countries experienced a decline in prostate cancer incidence rates from 2008 to 2012, according to results from a study presented at the AACR Annual Meeting 2019.

The study used cancer incidence data from the International Agency for Research on Cancer and mortality data from the World Health Organization to examine long-term prostate cancer trends from 1980 to 2012 among 38 countries. These data sets were deemed as high quality by researchers, meaning they were timely, accurate and complete.

Short-term trends based on prostate cancer incidence and mortality data were examined for 44 countries and 71 countries, respectively. From 2008 to 2012, incidence rates stabilized in 33 countries, and mortality rates stabilized in 54 countries. Mortality rates decreased in 14 countries.

Screening Success

The lead author of the study, MaryBeth Freeman, MPH, Senior Associate Scientist of the Surveillance and Health Services Research Program at ACS, believes the results have confirmed the positive impact of prostate specific antigen (PSA) tests. She recommends that further research be performed to assess mortality rates and late-stage disease presence in countries that plan to reduce their PSA testing.

Complete vs. Selective Removal of Prostate Tissue

Early detection and treatment of prostate cancer can result in better five-year relative survival rates for patients. However, certain treatments, including the complete removal of the prostate or the use of radiation therapy, can also negatively affect urinary and sexual function.

A study published in the Journal of Vascular and Interventional Radiology examined a new prostate cancer treatment technique called focal laser ablation (FLA), which was pioneered by lead author Eric Walser, MD, Chairman of Radiology at the University of Texas Medical Branch. The FLA technique removes only cancerous prostate tissue while leaving the remainder of the prostate. This technique has fewer negative effects on patients’ urinary and sexual function while showing similar treatment efficacy as complete prostate removal or radiation therapy, according to the results of the study. Further research is required to determine the long-term results of FLA.