The burden of prostate cancer in Asian nations

J Carcinog. 2012;11:7. doi: 10.4103/1477-3163.94025. Epub 2012 Mar 19.


Introduction: In this review, the International Agency for Research on Cancer's cancer epidemiology databases were used to examine prostate cancer (PCa) age-standardized incidence rates (ASIR) in selected Asian nations, including Cancer Incidence in Five Continents (CI5) and GLOBOCAN databases, in an effort to determine whether ASIRs are rising in regions of the world with historically low risk of PCa development.

Materials and methods: Asian nations with adequate data quality were considered for this review. PCa ASIR estimates from CI5 and GLOBOCAN 2008 public use databases were examined in the four eligible countries: China, Japan, Korea and Singapore. Time trends in PCa ASIRs were examined using CI5 Volumes I-IX.

Results: While PCa ASIRs remain much lower in the Asian nations examined than in North America, there is a clear trend of increasing PCa ASIRs in the four countries examined.

Conclusion: Efforts to systematically collect cancer incidence data in Asian nations must be expanded. Current CI5 data indicate a rise in PCa ASIR in several populous Asian countries. If these rates continue to rise, it is uncertain whether there will be sufficient resources in place, in terms of trained personnel and infrastructure for medical treatment and continuum of care, to handle the increase in PCa patient volume. The recommendation by some experts to initiate PSA screening in Asian nations could compound a resource shortfall. Obtaining accurate estimates of PCa incidence in these countries is critically important for preparing for a potential shift in the public health burden posed by this disease.

Keywords: Age-standardized incidence rate; Asia; GLOBOCAN; cancer incidence in five continents; prostate cancer.