International epidemiology of prostate cancer: geographical distribution and secular trends

Mol Nutr Food Res. 2009 Feb;53(2):171-84. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.200700511.


This review outlines current international patterns in prostate cancer incidence and mortality rates and survival, including recent trends and a discussion of the possible impact of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing on the observed data. Internationally, prostate cancer is the second most common cancer diagnosed among men (behind lung cancer), and is the sixth most common cause of cancer death among men. Prostate cancer is particularly prevalent in developed countries such as the United States and the Scandinavian countries, with about a six-fold difference between high-incidence and low-incidence countries. Interpretation of trends in incidence and survival are complicated by the increasing impact of PSA testing, particularly in more developed countries. As Western influences become more pronounced in less developed countries, prostate cancer incidence rates in those countries are tending to increase, even though the prevalence of PSA testing is relatively low. Larger proportions of younger men are being diagnosed with prostate cancer and living longer following diagnosis of prostate cancer, which has many implications for health systems. Decreasing mortality rates are becoming widespread among more developed countries, although it is not clear whether this is due to earlier diagnosis (PSA testing), improved treatment, or some combination of these or other factors.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen / blood
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / ethnology
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / mortality


  • Prostate-Specific Antigen