Prostate Cancer

This year, an estimated 161,360 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, and about 26,730 will die from the disease. Most prostate cancer is diagnosed in men older than 65.

Risk Factors

You might be at increased risk for prostate cancer if you are a man who:

  • Is over age 50
  • Is African-American
  • Has a family history of prostate cancer


In the early stages of prostate cancer, there are usually no symptoms. Some men experience symptoms that include:

  • Urinary problems (not being able to urinate, having trouble starting or stopping urine flow, having a weak or interrupted urine flow, feeling pain or a burning sensation while urinating)
  • Blood in the urine
  • Painful or difficult erection
  • Pain in lower back, pelvis or upper thighs

If you experience any of these symptoms, talk to your health care professional. Urinary symptoms may also be caused by other health problems, including BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia).


  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Exercise
  • Don’t smoke. If you do smoke, quit

Early Detection

  • At age 50, start talking with your health care professional about the pros and cons of getting tested. Early detection of prostate cancer followed by prompt treatment saves lives, but some men are treated for cancers that will never cause them harm and they must live with the side effects and complications of this treatment.
  • Researchers are working to improve screening methods and to determine which cancers are likely to be life-threatening.
  • Currently available tests are useful but are not 100 percent accurate. Sometimes a test indicates cancer where none exists, and sometimes it does not indicate cancer where it does exist.
  • A PSA (Prostate-Specific Antigen) blood test may be done every one or two years, depending on the results. Over time, if a PSA level goes up, the chances of having prostate cancer also go up. Another test, the DRE (Digital Rectal Exam), is optional.
  • If you are African-American or if you have a close relative (father or brother) who had prostate cancer before age 65, start talking to your doctor about prostate cancer when you are 45. If more than one close male relative had prostate cancer before 65, start that talk when you turn 40.

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Treatment Options

  • Treatments include surgery, radiation or hormone therapy. Sometimes treatments are combined.
  • Some prostate cancers grow very slowly and do not require immediate treatment. In these cases, men and their doctors may decide on “active surveillance” with regular follow-ups, usually every three to six months. This option should be open to reassessment, as a man’s condition or concerns may change.


Additional Resources

Fact Sheet
Prostate Cancer Fact Sheet (English)
Download the PDF (157kb)
Prostate Cancer Fact Sheet (Spanish)
Download the PDF (157kb)
Guide to Prevent Cancer
Download the Guide
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PSA Video
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