This year in the United States, almost 180,000 men will be told that they have prostate cancer. After a diagnosis of prostate cancer, a man and his family face several choices regarding treatment. Decisions involve many factors, personal as well as medical. Before making these decisions, it is very important to learn about all the options available. With this knowledge, a newly diagnosed prostate cancer patient can participate more confidently with his doctor in planning his individual treatment.
By age 50, about one-third of American men have microscopic signs of prostate cancer. By age 75, half to three-quarters of men will have some cancerous changes in their prostate glands. Most of these cancers remain latent, producing no signs of symptoms, or are so indolent, or slow-growing, that they never become a serious threat to health.
A much smaller number of men will actually be treated for prostate cancer. About 16 percent of American men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lives; 8 percent will develop significant symptoms; and 3 percent will die of the disease.