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Division Of Population Health

Maine Center for Disease Control & Prevention

A Division of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services

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Maine Cancer Registry - Prostate Cancer: Risk Factors, Prevention & Early Detection

Prostate Cancer in the U.S.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among U.S. men, accounting for 33% of all cancer cases in males. According to the 2006 American Cancer Society, Cancer Facts & Figures, an estimated 234,460 men in the U.S. will be diagnosed with prostate cancer and 27,350 men will die from this disease annually. Prostate cancer is primarily a disease of older men. The rate doubles every ten years after the age of 40. In the 1970's and 1980's prostate cancer incidence rose steadily. Since 1992 prostate cancer incidence has decreased. Some of the increase in cases may have been due to finding more cases at an earlier stage, through screening and routine surgeries. Since the early 1990's the mortality rates have also decreased. However, deaths from prostate cancer in African American men remain over twice as high as White men.

Risk Factors for Prostate Cancer

  • As with many cancers, older age is the biggest risk factor for prostate cancer.
  • Prostate enlargement (benign prostatic hypertrophy) may increase the risk for some men.
  • A history of prostate cancer in a close family member may also increase an individual's risk.

Prevention of Prostate Cancer

It is not yet clearly understood how best to prevent prostate cancer. Early detection may be the best strategy for reducing the chances of dying from this disease. Recent research indicates that a high intake of certain fruits and vegetables may decrease the risk of prostate cancer.

Early Detection of Prostate Cancer

Why is early detection important?

  • Cases detected early (local disease) have about a 100% chance of living for at least five more years.
  • Cases detected at the distant stage (when disease has spread to another part of the body) have only a 34% chance of living for five more years.

How to Improve your Chances of Detecting Prostate Cancer Early

  • Men aged 50 years or older with no risk factors should talk with their health care providers about being screened for prostate cancer with a digital rectal exam and blood test (PSA).
  • Men with risk factors, such as a family history of prostate cancer, may want to talk with their providers about being screened earlier.

For information on prostate cancer statistics in Maine, please see MCR's Annual Reports.