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Prostate cancer cases predicted to double by 2040

Prostate cancer constitutes 15% of all male cancers and with an increase of 85%, it will cause 700,000 deaths annually

By Web Desk
April 05, 2024
New study warns huge increase in prostate cancer worldwide. — representational image by AFP
New study warns huge increase in prostate cancer worldwide. — representational image by AFP 

A new study warns that prostate cancer cases will increase substantially worldwide over the next two decades. This rise is linked to a growing population of elderly people.

The study warns that the number of cases could double by 2040. The number could reach nearly 3 million annually by 2040, compared to 1.4 million in 2020.

Deaths caused by prostate cancer will also rise by 85%, reaching nearly 700,000 annually. The increase is expected among men living in low- and middle-income countries.

The main risk factors for prostate cancer, such as age over 50 and family history, are beyond lifestyle modifications or public health interventions.

The Lancet Commission on Prostate Cancer advises early-detection programmes targeting high-risk individuals. It also emphasises the importance of awareness campaigns and improving diagnosis and treatment, particularly in low- and middle-income nations. 

The commission highlights the necessity for inclusive research involving diverse ethnicities, especially individuals of West African descent, to address the disparities in prostate cancer outcomes.

Prostate cancer constitutes 15% of all male cancers. This cancer is a significant contributor to mortality and disability. In the UK, it is ranked as the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in men and is the most prevalent male cancer in over half of the world's nations.

Nick James, lead author of the commission, stresses the urgency of proactive measures, stating, "As more men globally reach middle and old age, we must prepare for this impending surge in prostate cancer cases."

“We know this surge in cases is coming, so we need to start planning and take action now.

“Evidence-based interventions, such as improved early detection and education programmes, will help to save lives and prevent ill health from prostate cancer in the years to come.

“This is especially true for low- and middle-income countries which will bear the overwhelming brunt of future cases.”

In high-income countries, current screening methods often involve the PSA test. However, the commission suggests a more targeted approach, combining PSA testing with MRI scans for high-risk groups, including those with a family history of the disease or of African descent.

The commission also calls for significant improvements in prostate cancer care in low- and middle-income countries, emphasising the need for enhanced medical infrastructure and trained personnel.

“With prostate cancer we cannot wait for people to feel ill and seek help – we must encourage testing in those who feel well but who have a high risk of the disease in order to catch lethal prostate cancer early," James said.

“Pop-up clinics and mobile testing offer cost-effective solutions that combine health checks and education.”

Alfred Samuels, diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer at 54, underscores the importance of targeted screening, especially for high-risk groups like black men. He advocates for increased ethnic representation in clinical trials to develop better treatments.

The findings of the Lancet Commission on Prostate Cancer will be presented at the 39th Annual European Association of Urology Congress, highlighting the global significance of addressing this growing health challenge.