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Prostate cancer health centre

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Newly diagnosed with prostate cancer

When someone is newly diagnosed with prostate cancer, they'll have lots of questions for their doctor.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men in the UK.

There are more than 40,000 new cases diagnosed each year.

Prostate cancer causes around 10,800 deaths in the UK each year.

More than 250,000 men in the UK are living with prostate cancer. Many of them will die of other medical conditions rather than prostate cancer.

However, after a prostate cancer diagnosis, 81.4% of men in England go on to survive the cancer for 5 years or longer.

Once prostate cancer has spread beyond the prostate, survival rates fall.

Prostate cancer is frequently slow-growing and slow to spread. It is more commonly diagnosed in older men.

Around 75% of prostate cancer cases are diagnosed in men aged 65 years and over. Men under 50 account for around 1% of prostate cancer diagnoses.

Prostate cancer is more common in men with African-Caribbean and African backgrounds, but less common in men with Asian backgrounds.

Staging, spread, and survival rates

As with all cancers, doctors use the term stage to describe how far prostate cancer has spread.

Staging systems are complicated. The staging system for most cancers, including prostate cancer, uses three different aspects of tumour growth and spread. It's called the TNM system, for tumour, nodes, and metastasis:

  • T, for tumour, describes the size of the main area of prostate cancer.
  • N, for nodes, describes whether prostate cancer has spread to any lymph nodes, and how many.
  • M, for metastasis, means distant spread of prostate cancer, for example, to the bones or liver.

Questions for your doctor about prostate cancer

  • How reliable are digital rectal examinations (DRE) and prostate specific antigen (PSA) tests?
  • What type is my cancer, and what does that mean for my prognosis?
  • What are the benefits and risks of each treatment option?
  • How do I decide which is the best treatment option for me personally?
  • Is there any indication that the cancer has spread?
  • Can my condition go untreated without adverse health consequences?
  • Will I become impotent?
  • Can I continue my normal activities during treatment?
  • How long will the treatment take?
  • Will my treatment have any long-term consequences?

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WebMD Medical Reference

Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks on March 14, 2014

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