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Prostate Cancer Facts

Cancer of the prostate strikes about 330,000 men annually in the U.S. and about 40,000 die each year from the disease. It is the most common cancer in American men and is the second-leading cause of cancer death. (Lung cancer is number one.)

African American men are at the highest risk in the world of developing prostate cancer. Their risk is estimated to be 66 percent higher than for white American men.

Native Americans, Hispanic Americans and Asian Americans are at a lower risk than white males.

An estimated one in three men will develop prostate cancer in his lifetime.

High rates of prostate cancer occur in Trinidad, Northern Europe, North America, New Zealand and Cuba.

Low rates occur in Mexico and in Mediterranean countries. The lowest rates are in Israel, Russia, Singapore and Japan.

When Japanese men move to the U.S., their sons’ risk of developing prostate cancer is similar to that of white American men.

Prostate cancer is rare before age 40. More than 75 percent of cases are diagnosed in men over age 65.

Almost half of all men under age 70 have microscopic tumors in the prostate. At ages 80 through 90, 70-90 percent of men have these tumors.

A diet high in animal fat is thought to be a risk factor for developing the disease. (Fats increase levels of testosterone, a male hormone.)

Genetic factors may play a role in prostate cancer. Men with a higher risk of developing the disease are those with a family history of prostate cancer or who have female family members with breast cancer, or both. Men at highest risk are those with more than one first-degree relative (father or brother) with the disease and in whom the disease developed early.

Less than 10 percent of all prostate cancers run in families. When an inherited form does occur, it occurs at an earlier age, is more advanced and is more aggressive than non-inherited cancer.