Medical Study: Worldwide Prostate Cancer Cases Will Double By 2040

5 April, 2024

A study published in The Lancet medical journal predicts a significant increase in the incidence of prostate cancer worldwide, stating that by 2040 there will be 2.9 million cases, up from 1.4 million in 2020.

In fact, according to the study, prostate cancer cases will increase predominantly in less wealthy countries, according to models published in The Lancet, which explain this trend by the anticipated ageing of the population.

“According to our conclusions, the annual number of new cases will more than double from 1.4 million in 2020 to 2.9 million in 2040,” underline the authors of this study, published today, which was carried out by projecting the demographic changes currently observed.

This trend could be explained by “the increase in life expectancy and by changes in age pyramids”, the authors suggest.

Prostate cancer, which is the most common in men – 15% of all cancers in men – occurs in most cases over the age of 50. And its incidence increases sharply as the years go by.

The study suggests that even in high-income countries, men at high risk—like those with family history, those of African descent and those with the BRACA2 gene mutation—be screened for the cancer early using PSA testing and MRI scans.

“As more and more men around the world live to middle and old age, there will be an inevitable rise in the number of prostate cancer cases. We know this surge in cases is coming, so we need to start planning and take action now.”

Dr. Nick James, lead author of the study, London Institute of Cancer Research

Researchers warn lifestyle changes and public health interventions will do little to stop the rise in cases as the main risk factors for the disease—being a man over 50 and having a family history of prostate cancer—are unavoidable.

Subsequently, researchers estimate deaths due to the disease will rise to almost 700,000 per year in 2040, up from the 375,000 in 2020.

Key Information

According to the study, prostate cancer now accounts for 15% of all male cancers globally and is the predominant form of cancer in men in over half of the world’s countries. While metastatic prostate cancer currently lacks a cure, many instances are manageable, and if caught in its early stages, patients often surpass the disease’s lifespan. Those diagnosed within the initial three stages typically achieve cancer-free status within five years, as per findings from John Hopkins Medicine. However, treatment options become limited for late-stage cancer.

Early detection is paramount, with John Hopkins estimating that 80 to 85% of prostate cancer cases are identified early, while late-stage cases exhibit a dismal five-year survival rate of only 28%. Access to screenings significantly impacts prostate cancer rates and mortality, with countries lacking in screening accessibility experiencing elevated instances of the disease and related fatalities among their populace.

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