Prostate cancer diagram

What is prostate cancer?

It is in the prostate that the male hormone, testosterone, is converted into di-hydro-testosterone (DHT), which stimulates the growth and the multiplication of cancer cells. During its evolution, prostate cancer can develop also outside the prostate gland by means of remote metastases, usually appearing during this disease in neighbouring lymph nodes and in the bones.

Prostate cancer is probably the most important health problem for men of more than 45 years of age. It is indeed the most widespread cancer for man except for skin cancer.

In France, in 2002, 29.000 new cases of prostate cancer were diagnosed against 23.000 lung cancers, while in 2001 the national data of mortality published by INSERM found 21.000 attributable deaths to lung cancer for males against attributable 9.100 in prostate cancer.

Life expectancy after diagnosis of cancer is highly variable according to the location of the cancer. Some cancers can be fast-developing and not leave any hope for a long life expectancy, like pancreas cancer (96 % of mortality in 5 years) or liver cancer. Conversely, other cancers give good prognosis for survival rates.

According to the same sources, the prognosis of prostate cancer appears intermediate with 44 % of mortality in 5 years following its diagnosis, while for breast cancer, this mortality in 5 years is only 27 % and 10 % for testicle cancer.

Prostate cancer represents 3,4 % of all the deaths and 10,7 % of the deaths by cancer in France.

According to the American Cancer Society, 180.000 new cases are diagnosed in the United States every year, and more than 32.000 men die from this disease, which makes it the second cause of death by cancer for men in this country and it’s the same in France where prostate cancer follows in the of domain lung cancer.

Despite its frequency, many men remain embarrassed at the idea of speaking about it to their doctor. Resulting in prostate cancer screening being practised on less than 10 % of men in the United States only.

What are the causes of prostate cancer?

With our current knowledge, the specific causes of prostate cancer remain unknown.

However we consider that genetic, food and also environmental factors interact to promote and favor the development of the cancerous process.