Prostate cancer

Prostate cancer graphicFind out more about prostate cancer, including how common it is and ways to reduce your risk.

On this page:

> How common is prostate cancer?
> What is prostate cancer?
> Who’s at risk?
> What are the risk factors?
> How can you reduce your risk of prostate cancer?
> View and share our infographic

How common is prostate cancer?

More than 150 cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed every day in the UK, making it the most common cancer in men, and the second most common cancer of all behind breast cancer.

In 2019, 55,068 cases of prostate cancer were diagnosed* and there were 12,169 deaths from prostate cancer.

In the UK, men diagnosed with prostate cancer have a one-year survival rate of 97.2%, and a there’s a five-year survival rate of 87.9% from prostate cancer.

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> View our full-size infographic about prostate cancer

What is prostate cancer?

The prostate is a gland that is only found in men. It is about the size of a walnut and is found beneath the bladder.

The prostate makes fluid that protects the urethra (the tube that carries urine and sperm out of the body) and helps sperm survive.

Prostate cancer develops when a cell in the prostate gland gets damaged and starts to grow in an uncontrolled way.

Who is most at risk of prostate cancer?

As with all cancers, the risk of developing prostate cancer depends on a number of factors and varies from person to person. About 3 out of every 4 cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed in men aged 65 and over.

What are the risk factors associated with prostate cancer?

These are some of the most important factors.

1. Being overweight or obese

There is strong evidence that being overweight or obese is a cause of advanced prostate cancers, including aggressive prostate cancers, which can be fatal.

2. Age

Men under the age of 50 have a very low risk of prostate cancer. The risk increases as you get older. Most men in their 80s will have some degree of prostate cancer, but it is often not life-limiting.

3. Family history

Your risk is higher if you have a close relative (for example, your father, brother or uncle) who has been affected by the disease. There is also evidence which shows that having a close female relative (for example, your mother) who has had breast cancer can increase your risk. Experts believe that around 5–9% of prostate cancer cases are linked to genes or family history.

4. Ethnicity

Men of African-Caribbean or African descent have a higher risk of prostate cancer than white men. Asian and Chinese men have a lower risk than white men.

How can you reduce your risk of prostate cancer?

> ​Be a healthy weight

The most up-to-date research shows that if you are overweight or obese you are at greater risk of advanced prostate cancer. To find out if you’re a healthy weight for your height, check your body mass index (BMI) using our BMI calculator.

> Visit NHS Choices to find out about the symptoms and treatment of prostate cancer

Prostate cancer: the facts and figures

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*Cancer statistics based on combined data from EnglandScotlandNorthern Ireland and Wales. World Cancer Research Fund, 2020.