But what are the figures for the number of men who do need to end up having the operation?
A review article from 2008 perhaps gives reason to feel a bit less foreboding:
The probability of developing prostate cancer increases from 0.005% in men younger than 39 years to 2.2% in men between 40 and 59 years and 13.7% in men between 60 and 79 years.5–7 The current lifetime risk of developing prostate cancer is 16.7% (1 in 6 men). The probability of developing histological evidence of prostate cancer is even higher. Carter and colleagues8 showed that 50% of men between 70 and 80 years of age showed histological evidence of malignancy. A lifetime risk of 42% for developing histological evidence of prostate cancer in 50-year-old men has been calculated.8,9 In men at this age, however, the risk of developing clinically significant disease is only 9.5%, and the risk of dying from prostate cancer is only 2.9%.9Doesn't actually tell me how many have the operation, but still...
A more recent article notes:
Worldwide, more than 1 million men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year and more than 300,000 die of the disease1. Current U.S. statistics show that either 1 in 5 or 1 in 6 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime. With such a high incidence, should we be alarmed? What is a reasonable response to a risk of cancer as high as 1:5?One in five is pretty high, I guess - but the odds are still in favour of not ever getting a diagnosis.
But - yes, I have a brother who had it, so that makes things worse for me, risk wise:
- Men with a brother who had prostate cancer had twice as high a risk of being diagnosed as the general population. They had about a 30% risk of being diagnosed before age 75, compared with about 13% among men with no family history.
- Men with a brother who had prostate cancer had about a 9% risk of getting an aggressive type of prostate cancer by age 75, compared with about 5% among other men.