Prostate Cancer Survival Rates

Prostate cancer survival rates indicate the percentage of people with a certain type and stage of prostate cancer who survive the disease for a specific period of time after their diagnosis. In most cases, statistics refer to the 5-year prostate cancer survival rate. This is the percentage of people who are alive 5 years after a prostate cancer diagnosis, whether they have few or no signs or symptoms of prostate cancer, are free of disease, or are having treatment.

The prostate cancer survival rates are based on large groups of people and cannot be used to predict what will happen to a particular patient. No two patients are exactly alike, and prostate cancer treatment and responses to treatment vary greatly.

Factors Influencing Prostate Cancer Survival Rates

In general, prostate cancer survival rates will depend on:

  • The stage of prostate cancer (see Stages of Prostate Cancer)
  • The patient’s age and general health
  • Whether the cancer has just been diagnosed or has come back (recurred)
  • The Gleason score and the level of PSA.

Overall Prostate Cancer Survival Rates

Survival rates can be calculated by different methods for different purposes. The survival rates presented here are based on the relative survival rate. The relative survival rate measures the survival of prostate cancer patients in comparison to the general population to estimate the effect of cancer. The overall 5-year relative prostate cancer survival rate for 1995-2002 was 99 percent. The 5-year relative prostate cancer survival rates by race and sex were:

  • 99.9 percent for white men
  • 97.6 percent for black men.

Prostate Cancer Survival Rates Based on Stage The stages of prostate cancer play a role in prostate cancer survival rates. Based on historical data:

  • 91 percent of prostate cancer cases are diagnosed while the cancer is still confined to the primary site (localized stage) or after the cancer has spread to regional lymph nodes or directly beyond the primary site
  • 5 percent of prostate cancer cases are diagnosed after the cancer has already metastasized (distant stage)
  • 4 percent of prostate cancer cases had staging information that was unknown.

The corresponding 5-year relative prostate cancer survival rates were:

  • 100 percent for localized or regional
  • 33.3 percent for distant
  • 79.5 percent for unstaged.

Prostate Cancer Statistics: An Overview Until the last several years, prostate cancer death rates had been rising steadily. For example, prostate cancer killed 17 of every 100,000 American men in 1932. By 1991, this number had reached 25 in 100,000. Since then, however, the death rates have been declining. The reasons for both the earlier increase and the recent decline in the prostate cancer death rates are unclear. Nearly 29,000 men died of prostate cancer in 2003. There are approximately 2 million men alive today with a history of the disease.

From 1998-2002, the median age at prostate cancer diagnosis was 68 years. The percentages of people diagnosed with prostate cancer based on age were as follows:

  • 0.0 percent were diagnosed under age 20
  • 0.0 percent between 20 and 34
  • 0.5 percent between 35 and 44
  • 8.3 percent between 45 and 54
  • 26.9 percent between 55 and 64
  • 37.0 percent between 65 and 74
  • 22.6 percent between 75 and 84
  • 4.7 percent 85+ years of age.

Death rates for prostate cancer are much lower than the incidence rates, because survival for men with this cancer is generally quite high.

From 1998-2002, the median age at death for prostate cancer was 80 years. The percentages of people who died from prostate cancer based on age were as follows:

  • 0.0 percent died under age 20
  • 0.0 percent between 20 and 34
  • 0.1 percent between 35 and 44
  • 1.3 percent between 45 and 54
  • 6.5 percent between 55 and 64
  • 21.1 percent between 65 and 74
  • 41.9 percent between 75 and 84
  • 29.1 percent 85+ years of age.