Can You Die From Prostate Cancer?

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According to the American Cancer Society, approximately 1 in 6 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point in their lives, and 1 in 35 men will die from prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men (after skin cancer) and is the second most common cause of cancer death in men (after lung cancer). Approximately 10 percent of all cancer-related deaths in men are caused by prostate cancer. Although it is entirely possible to die from prostate cancer, early detection and advanced treatment have improved the prognosis greatly for many men. The American Cancer Society estimates that as of 2009, there are approximately 2 million men in America living with prostate cancer.

How Many Men Die of Prostate Cancer

  • According to the American Cancer Society, approximately 192,280 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed in 2009. Both the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute project that approximately 27,360 men will die of the disease in 2009.

    The National Cancer Institute statistics state that 80 is the median age at which men die of prostate cancer. Fewer than 10 percent of prostate cancer deaths occur in men younger then age 64; 20.1 percent of the men were between the ages of 65 and 74 when they died. The highest percentage of deaths, 40.9 percent, occurred in men between the ages of 75 and 84. Finally, the remaining 30.3 percent of prostate-cancer-related deaths occurred in men over 85.

Stage I Prostate Cancer Survival

  • Your likelihood of dying from prostate cancer depends on the stage of the prostate cancer. Stage I cancer means that the cancer is contained in the prostate, only 5 percent of the prostate tissue has cancer present, and the cancer hasn't spread anywhere else. According to the American Cancer Society, 9 out of 10 prostate cancers are diagnosed at Stage I or Stage II.

    Stage I prostate cancer is considered to be local prostate cancer, and 100 percent of men with local prostate cancer are alive five years after diagnosis (these statistics allow for deaths unrelated to prostate cancer).

Stage II Prostate Cancer Survival

  • Stage II cancer means the cancer is only in the prostate, and is only in a small percentage of the tissue. Like Stage I, Stage II prostate cancer is considered to be local prostate cancer and there is a 100 percent five-year survival rate. You are very unlikely to die as a result of being diagnosed with Stage II prostate cancer.

Stage III Prostate Cancer Survival

  • The five-year survival rates for Stage III prostate cancer are, like Stage I and Stage II, 100 percent. Stage III prostate cancers have spread into nearby seminal vesicles, but have not entered the lymph system or spread anywhere else in the body. This type of cancer is called regional prostate cancer, and with proper treatment, the prognosis is good. Treatment may include a prostatectomy (removal of the prostate) or radiation, and hormone therapy.

Stage IV Prostate Cancer Survival

  • Once the cancer has spread--or metastasized--outside of the prostate to distant organs, the survival rate drops dramatically. The five-year survival rate for Stage IV prostate cancer is 31 percent. This type of prostate cancer, called distant prostate cancer, accounts for the vast majority of prostate-cancer-related deaths in the U.S.

Early Detection

  • Because early detection can greatly increase your chances of survival, it is essential to be aware of the signs and symptoms. Difficulty urinating is one of the main symptoms of prostate cancer, although this can also be a symptom of other non-prostate-cancer-related issues as well. Other symptoms include difficulty getting or maintaining an erection or blood in the urine.

    Regular prostate cancer screenings can identify cancer even before symptoms begin. If you are over the age of 50, you should have a prostate cancer screening annually as part of your physical exam.

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