Monthly Archives: June 2011

The Truth Behind Prostate Cancer Mortality Rates

Researchers from Kings College London recently reported that between 1997 and 2007, prostate cancer was the cause of 49% of deaths in men diagnosed with this disease. When hearing the words “prostate cancer” and quickly looking at that figure of 49%, you might think the disease comes with a very high mortality rate. The way in which this statistic was presented is extremely misleading; it is very easy to misinterpret the claim made as, “49% of men who develop prostate cancer die because of prostate cancer.” When reading the study more closely, we find that of the 50,066 men who developed prostate cancer during the study period, 20,181 (40%) died after diagnosis of the disease. Of these deaths, 49% (9,889) resulted from prostate cancer. This amounts to an overall prostate-cancer-specific mortality rate of 20%. Compared to the U.S. which has a prostate-cancer-specific mortality rate of 15%, the UK findings are a little high, which is perhaps due to differences in prostate cancer monitoring and diagnosis between countries. The take home message is that prostate cancer, especially if undetected or untreated, can be fatal. In fact, it’s the second leading cause […]