Why is prostate cancer important?
Prostate cancer is the most common malignancy in American men and the second leading cause of deaths from cancer, after lung cancer. According to the American Cancer Society's most recent estimates, 192,280 new cases of prostate cancer would be diagnosed in 2009 and 27,360 would die from the disease.
The estimated lifetime risk of being diagnosed with the disease is 17.6% for Caucasians and 20.6% for African Americans. The lifetime risk of death from prostate cancer similarly is 2.8% and 4.7% respectively. As reflected in these numbers, prostate cancer is likely to impact the lives of a significant proportion of men that are alive today.
Over the years, however, the death rate from this disease has shown a steady decline, and currently, more than 2 million men in the U.S. are still alive after being diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point in their lives.
Although it is subject to some controversy, many experts in this field, therefore, recommend that beginning at age 40, all men should undergo screening for prostate cancer.