Prostate Cancer in Pennsylvania

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer diagnosis in men.
Despite being the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men, prostate cancer received little attention in the media and in public policy. The rate of men diagnosed with prostate cancer (131.3 per 100,000 in 2008-2012) is very similar to the rate of women diagnosed with breast cancer (128.3 per 100,000 in 2008-2012). Additionally, the mortality rates are also similar between prostate cancer in men and breast cancer in women.

More than 1 in 10 men that are diagnosed with prostate cancer are younger than 55 years old.
A common misconception of prostate cancer is that it is “an old man’s disease.” The truth is that prostate cancer continues to be diagnosed in younger men at an increasing rate.

Prostate cancer disproportionately affects African American men.
The prostate cancer incidence rate for African American men in Pennsylvania (145.7 per 100,000 in 2012) is 58% higher than for white men. The mortality rate for African American men is more than two times that of white men.

When caught early, prostate cancer survival rates are excellent. Unfortunately, recent trends show increase in late stage diagnoses.
Currently, about 17% of men diagnosed with prostate cancer in Pennsylvania receive their diagnosis after the cancer has already spread outside of the prostate gland.

Unless prostate cancer is made a priority by public policy makers, we will continue to see a trend of increase late-stage diagnoses.
Five and ten year prostate cancer survival rates are nearly 100% when the cancer is caught in the early stages. However, prostate cancer is asymptomatic, and is likely be missed during the early stages without proper education and screening. Between 2011 and 2012, in the year after the USPTF recommended against prostate cancer screening, early stage prostate cancer incidence dropped significantly and late stage diagnoses began to increase. Not all men need to be screened every year, but a program of getting baseline PSA scores and assessing a man’s risk factors will be the best path forward to identifying aggressive prostate cancer.


Statistics gathered for these talking points came from the PA Dept of Health website on 9/14/2015.