Prostate Cancer

Reviewed by health care specialists at UCSF Medical Center.



Other than skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men. In fact, it is estimated that more than 230,000 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year alone. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), after lung cancer, prostate cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among American men. The good news, however, is that the current survival rate is 97 percent. On average, an American man has a 30 percent risk of having prostate cancer in his lifetime, but only a 3 percent risk of dying of the disease.

The other good news is that among all racial and ethnic groups, prostate cancer death rates are declining. Perhaps the most encouraging prostate cancer statistic is that more men die with prostate cancer than from prostate cancer. The reason could be twofold: prostate cancer typically affects men older than 65 and, it is often a slowly progressing disease.

The UCSF Prostate Cancer Center is dedicated to providing the best comprehensive care for those with the disease and those at risk of developing it.

Prostate cancer often doesn’t produce any symptoms in the early stages. Symptoms that may indicate prostate cancer, and which should be followed up with a visit to the doctor, include:

  • Frequent urination, especially at night
  • Urgency in urinating
  • Trouble starting your urine stream
  • A weak or interrupted urine stream
  • Pain or burning during urination
  • A feeling that your bladder doesn’t empty completely
  • Blood in the urine
  • A nagging pain in the back, hips or pelvis

Although these symptoms may indicate prostate cancer, they also can be caused by other conditions that are not cancer, such as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). As men age, the prostate often enlarges and can press on and block the urethra and bladder, producing some of the symptoms described above. BPH can be successfully treated with medication or surgery.