Pacific Cancer Programs

Prostate Cancer

Prostate Cancer Information for:


Program Managers and Coalition Members

The Community

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The prostate is part of a man's reproductive system. It is located in front of the rectum and under the bladder. It surrounds the urethra, the tube through which urine flows. A healthy prostate is about the size of a walnut.

The Burden of Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer, other than some kinds of skin cancer, among men in the United States. In 2004,* 189,075 men in this country were diagnosed with prostate cancer, and 29,002 men died of the disease. [1] In fact, prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths among men in the United States, after lung cancer, and the seventh leading cause of death overall for men in this country.

  • The incidence of prostate cancer in the United States remained level from 1995-2004. [2]
  • The incidence of prostate cancer among African-American, Asian/Pacific Islander, American Indian/Alaska Native, and Hispanic men remained level from 1995-2004. [2]
  • Deaths from prostate cancer in the United States decreased significantly by 4.0% per year from 1994 to 2004. [2]
  • More than 60% of all diagnosed prostate cancers are found in men aged 65 years or older. [1]
  • African-American men die of prostate cancer more often than do men in any other racial/ethnic group. [1]

Risk Factors

  • Age: The older a man is, the greater his risk for getting prostate cancer. [3]
  • Family history: A man with a father, brother, or son who has had prostate cancer is two to three times more likely to develop the disease himself. [3]
  • Race: Prostate cancer is more common in some racial and ethnic groups than in others, but medical experts do not know why. Prostate cancer is more common among African American men than among white men. It is less common among Hispanic, Asian, Pacific Islander, and Native American men. [3]

Researchers are trying to determine the causes of prostate cancer and whether it can be prevented. They do not yet agree on the factors that can influence a man's risk of developing the disease. Some of the factors under study include [3, 4, 5]

  • Herbal supplements.
  • Lycopene (an antioxidant abundant in red tomatoes and processed tomato products).
  • Diets high in animal fat or low in fruits and vegetables.
  • Vitamin E and selenium.
  • Men's hormone levels.
  • Environmental agents (pesticide residues on foods, and industrial and occupational exposures).
  • Physical inactivity.
  • Overweight and obesity.

Acknowledgment: This text is adapted from the NCI and CDC websites.


Centers for Disease Control (CDC)

CDC is a leader in nationwide cancer prevention and control, working with national organizations, state health agencies and other key groups to develop, implement, and promote effective cancer prevention and control practices.

National Cancer Institute (NCI)

NCI is a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), one of eight agencies that compose the Public Health Service (PHS) in the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). The National Cancer Institute coordinates the National Cancer Program, which conducts and supports research, training, health information dissemination, and other programs with respect to the cause, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of cancer, rehabilitation from cancer, and the continuing care of cancer patients and the families of cancer patients.

MedlinePlus - Prostate Cancer Link

MedlinePlus will direct you to information to help answer health questions. MedlinePlus brings together authoritative information from NLM, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and other government agencies and health-related organizations. MedlinePlus also has extensive information about drugs, an illustrated medical encyclopedia, interactive patient tutorials, and latest health news. Please make sure you check the MedlinePlus online for prostate cancer with an extensive, constantly updated resource list.

American Cancer Society (ACS)

ACS is the nationwide community-based voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by preventing cancer, saving lives, and diminishing suffering from cancer, through research, education, advocacy, and service.

Printed Materials to Download

“What You Need To Know About™ Prostate Cancer”

This National Cancer Institute (NCI) booklet (NIH Publication No. 05-1576) has important information about prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is the second most common type of cancer among men in this country, with only skin cancer being more common. Out of every three men who are diagnosed with cancer each year, one is diagnosed with prostate cancer.

  • Download the PDF file (NCI 2006, 59 pages): (pdf 550 KB).

ASCO Answers: Prostate Cancer

ASCO Answers is a series of fact sheets produced by the American Society of Clinical Oncology. The stage is a way of describing the cancer, such as where it is located, if or where it has spread, and if it is affecting the functions of other organs in the body. There are four stages for prostate cancer.

  • Download the PDF file (ASCO 2008, 2 pages): (pdf 320 KB).
Online Tools

Siteman Cancer Center: Prostate Cancer Risk Questionnaire

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among US men. It's not always life threatening, but it forces many men to weigh the risks and benefits of its treatment. To estimate your risk of prostate cancer and learn about ways to lower that risk, take a few minutes to answer some questions about your health, background, and lifestyle.


  1. U.S. Cancer Statistics Working Group. United States Cancer Statistics: 2004 Incidence and Mortality. Atlanta (GA): Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and National Cancer Institute; 2007.
  2. Ries LAG, et al (eds). SEER Cancer Statistics Review, 1975-2004, National Cancer Institute, 2007
  3. Bostwick DG, Burke HB, Djakiew D, Euling S, Ho S, Landolph J, et al. Human prostate cancer risk factors. Cancer 2004;101(10 Suppl):2371-2490.
  4. Vainio H, Bianchini F, eds. IARC Handbooks of Cancer Prevention, Vol 6: Weight Control and Physical Activity. Lyon, France: IARC Press; 2002.
  5. Curry S, Byers T, Hewitt M, eds. Fulfilling the Potential of Cancer Prevention and Early Detection. Washington, DC: Institute of Medicine; 2003.

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