Although fewer men are being diagnosed with localized prostate cancer, more are being diagnosed with distant-stage disease, for which only about one-third survive beyond 5 years after diagnosis.

Prostate cancer incidence and survival data for the United States were recently reported in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Approximately 3.1 million men were diagnosed with prostate cancer between 2003 and 2017, and most men had localized prostate cancer, comprising 78% of cases in 2003 and 70% in 2017. A minority — 4% — had distant-stage prostate cancer in 2003, though this percentage doubled to 8% by 2017.

Overall, the average annual percent change (AAPC) for the incidence of prostate cancer declined by 2.5% during the 15-year span. For cases diagnosed with localized prostate cancer, the AAPC declined by 3.3%, but for distant stage, the AAPC rose by 2.2% during the same time period. Also, an average percent change (APC) of 5.1% was seen for distant stage between 2010 and 2017.

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Survival data showed that the 10-year survival for localized prostate cancer remained high, at 100% between 2001 and 2016. Although most cases with distant-stage prostate cancer do not live beyond 5 years, the 5-year survival did rise from 28.7% between 2001 and 2005 to 32.3% between 2011 and 2016.

The report authors pointed out that in 2012 the US Preventive Services Task Force concluded that the benefits of prostate-specific antigen (PSA)-based screening do not outweigh the harms and recommended against PSA-based screening for prostate cancer for men of all ages.

“This recommendation likely contributed to a decrease in overall reported prostate cancer incidence and might have contributed to an increase in the percentage and incidence of distant stage prostate cancer,” the authors wrote.


Siegel DA, O’Neil ME, Richards TB, Dowling NF, Weir HK. Prostate cancer incidence and survival, by stage and race/ethnicity — United States, 2001–2017. MMWR Recomm Rep. 2020;69(41):1473-1480. doi:10.15585/mmwr.mm6941a1