Incidence and Risk Factors of Prostate Cancer


This program was possible with support from Bayer. Alicia Morgans, MD, MPH, reviews the incidence of prostate cancer and risk factors associated with the disease.


Alicia Morgans, MD, MPH: Hi and welcome to CURE®’s Educated Patient® Sound Bites on prostate cancer. My name is Alicia Morgans, and I am a GU medical oncologist, as well as an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and the medical director of the survivorship program at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Today, I’ll be offering insights about prostate cancer and sharing highlights of data that were recently presented at national conferences.

What is the incidence of prostate cancer and what are the risk factors?

Alicia Morgans, MD, MPH: Prostate cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in American men other than skin cancers. There are expected to be nearly 290,000 new diagnoses of prostate cancer in 2023. Importantly, although so many patients are diagnosed with localized prostate cancer that can be cured with things like radiation or surgery, it is also the leading cause of cancer death in the United States for men. It’s important to recognize that it is both common and can be aggressive and can cause cancer death. What’s so important as we consider trends in diagnosis and in risk of prostate cancer over time, is that prostate cancer in the last few years seems to be diagnosed at a more advanced stage, particularly among Black American patients, which is a concerning trend that is really evident and really demonstrates the disparity that exists in prostate cancer diagnosis and care. We, as a community, need to be very aware of this particular disparity. We need to make sure that we’re screening individuals and hopefully identifying them when they have localized prostate cancer that can be more easily treated and more effectively cured. Working together, I do think this is something that we can handle and do.

The main risk factor for prostate cancer is having a family member who has been diagnosed with prostate cancer in the past. It’s really important if you have a family history—your father or an uncle or brother who’s been diagnosed with prostate cancer—to be aware of PSA [prostate-specific antigen] screening and the digital rectal exam and to talk to your doctor about screening so that you can be diagnosed if prostate cancer is an issue for you, as well. The other main risk factor for prostate cancer that I think about is being a man who’s aging in the United States, because prostate cancer is diagnosed in up to 1 in 8 people in the United States and is the most common cancer diagnosed among men other than skin cancer. That’s why I think it’s really critical to be aware of it, even if you don’t have a family history. Finally, just to mention that prostate cancer is diagnosed nearly twice as often among Black American men than among Caucasian or White men. It’s really important—especially in the Black American community—to be aware of this particular illness and to have open and honest conversations about screening and diagnosis so that we can diagnose the disease at an earlier stage and hopefully cure it.

Transcript is AI-generated and edited for clarity and readability.

Related Videos
Rashid K. Sayyid, MD, MSc, an expert on prostate cancer
Reginald Tucker-Seeley, MA, ScM, ScD, an expert on prostate cancer
Alicia Morgans, MD, MPH, an expert on prostate cancer
Dr. Psutka in an interview with CURE
Dr. Alicia Morgans in an interview with CURE
Dr. Michael Leapman in front of a gray, CURE-branded background
Kristie L. Kahl
Dr. Daniel Petrylak