Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in the United States, and the second leading cause of cancer-related death in men in the United States. An estimated $11.9 billion is spent each year on prostate cancer treatment.
While the rates of prostate cancer sharply increased in the late 1980s, the elevated rate was due to increased screening with the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test. Since the early 1990s, incidence and mortality have been steadily decreasing.
NCI Activities Relevant to Prostate Cancer
- Prostate Cancer Modeling project explores the natural history of prostate cancer and its possible implications for screening efficacy, screening policy, over diagnosis, outcomes, and health disparities in prostate cancer screening and treatment. This is a project conducted by Cancer Intervention and Surveillance Modeling Network (CISNET).
- The Prostate Cancer Program includes staff from NCI’s Medical Oncology, Radiation Oncology, and Urologic Oncology branches. This program conducts clinical education, clinical research, and clinical care to improve the management of patients with prostate cancer.
- Tumor Microenvironment Network (TMEN) investigators are studying how prostate cancer cells travel to the bone marrow and metastasize there.
- Prostate-cancer-specific Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPOREs) are conducting studies to better understand how prostate cancer develops, to improve clinical decision-making for administering hormone therapy, to prevent adverse effects in survivors, and other important research to understand prostate cancer.
The biggest NCI activity relevant to prostate cancer is a follow-up of the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Cancer (PLCO) Screening Trial. This large-scale clinical trial examined whether certain cancer-screening tests reduced death from these cancers. For prostate cancer, long-term follow-up data from the trial provided no evidence that annual screening with digital rectal exam and a PSA blood test reduces prostate cancer mortality.
Risk factors for prostate cancer
- Advancing age
- Being African American
- Family history of prostate cancer
- Being overweight or obese
To educate your students on anatomy, the proper ways to give exams, and other information about prostate health, see Pocket Nurse models, media, and manikins on the topic.
Prostate Cancer Snapshot, Men’s Health Network (PDF)