Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the UK and accounts for around a quarter of all new male cancer diagnoses. In 2009, there were 34,593 new cases of prostate cancer diagnosed in England, an age-standardised rate of 107.6.
Prostate cancer is the second most common cause of cancer-related deaths in men in the UK, accounting for around 14 per cent of all male cancer deaths. In 2009 there were 8,842 deaths in England from prostate cancer.
Survival rates for prostate cancer have been improving for more than 30 years but the trends in survival can be difficult to interpret. This is because the detection of a greater proportion of latent, earlier, slow growing tumours because of PSA testing, and the advent of new surgical procedures such as transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP), have raised survival rates.
The relative five year survival rate for men diagnosed in England in 2001-2006 was 77 per cent compared with only 31 per cent for men diagnosed in 1971-75.
For more detailed statistics, see Cancer Research UK
The strongest risk factor is age. Prostate cancer is largely a disease of older men and is rare below the age of 50. More than 75 per cent of cases occur in men over 65, with the largest number being diagnosed in those aged 70 to 74.
The risk of developing prostate cancer rises steeply with age.
Risk increases two to three times for men with a family history of prostate cancer in a first-degree relative. If the relative is <60 years old at diagnosis, or more than one relative is affected, the risk is increased by four times.
In the UK, the incidence of prostate cancer is higher in black Carribean and black African men (about two to three times that of white men), and lowest in Asian men.
Lycopenes (from tomatoes and tomato based products) and selenium are thought to have a protective effect, whilst diets high in calcium may increase the risk of developing prostate cancer.
For the latest evidence on risk factors, see Cancer Research UK