The prostate gland is located in the pelvic cavity, in front of the rectum and below the urinary bladder, surrounding the urethra. It is a very important gland for male fertility because it creates a part of the seminal fluid that gives nutrition and prevents clotting in semen. It does not produce sperm cells, but it is considered a part of the male reproductive system. The prostate is a common cause of complain in older adults, and it is the only gland of the body that continues to grow as we age.
The prostate gland is also the most common site of cancer in males. As a matter of fact, most males are expected to develop prostate cancer at the age of 80 years. But does that mean that they will die from prostate cancer? Not necessarily. The incidence of prostate cancer is high, but the survival rate is also usually high.
In this article, we will cover the topic thoroughly. After reading, you will understand why prostate cancer is different from other types of cancer and why, despite so many cases, the mortality is not as alarming as it seems. Still, you will also understand after reading that the mortality and survival rate of prostate cancer depends on the tumor’s aggressiveness, age of onset, genetics, and other risk factors that may increase your chance of aggressive prostate cancer.
Prostate cancer incidence
You should expect a difference in the incidence of prostate cancer depending on your country. The variation can be very high and extend to 50-fold in some cases. Countries such as the United States and Africa have the highest incidence, while the lowest incidence is found in Southern Asia and Northern Africa. Thus, depending on where you’re reading, the information may apply differently, and health authorities may plan to screen for prostate cancer differently.
According to recent statistics, there are more than 3 million men with prostate cancer in the United States, and there are thousands of new diagnoses every year. In 2021 alone, there were nearly 250,000 new cases, and most patients newly diagnosed with this disease are 50 years or older.
Prostate cancer mortality
So, prostate cancer is common, but is it necessarily a death sentence? The answer is no. There are different types of prostate cancer; some can be very aggressive and life-threatening. Still, men who didn’t develop prostate cancer at age 70 are unlikely to die from prostate cancer if a tumor develops after that age. In contrast, young men with prostate cancer are more likely to have an aggressive type because it means their genetics are probably involved. Moreover, their extended life expectancy will give cancer more time to grow and become a problem in the future. Thus, diagnosing prostate cancer in young males is much more dangerous because their prognosis is worse than in older adults.
Mortality due to prostate cancer depends on the extent of the tumor, something known as margin positivity, and the Gleason score. This is what each one means:
The extent of the tumor
In other words, doctors need to see the volume of cancer, how big it is, and whether it is invading nearby tissue. Cancer starting to spread locally will probably be much more aggressive than a tumor that stays small and apparently enclosed in a capsule.