What is Prostate Cancer?

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Prostate cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in men. It accounts for 15% of all tumours diagnosed. Its appearance is linked to age, and it is more common in people aged over 60. With the appearance of the tumour marker Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA), which can be detected in a blood test, the diagnosis of early-stage prostate cancer has increased considerably.

The term cancer encompasses a large number of diseases that are characterised by the development of abnormal cells that divide and grow uncontrollably in some part of the body. Prostate cancer originates in the prostate gland.

How many people does Prostate Cancer affect?

The prevalence varies depending on the age of the man, the area he lives, and his origin.

This cancer is very rare in men under 30, but in men over 80 it is found in up to 60% of the autopsies performed for other causes of death.

It is frequent in Oceania, North America and Western Europe. The population most prone to developing this disease are men of African origin, followed by those of Caucasian origin. The least likely to develop it are those of Asian origin.

The incidence ranges from 110 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in areas where the disease is most frequent, to 3 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the least-affected areas.

In Western Europe there are 85-95 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.

Type of Prostate Cancer

As in most tumours, the stage of the disease is given by the depth of the tumour, the presence of affected lymph nodes (adenopathies) and distant metastases.

In the case of prostate cancer, a classification is used based on a biopsy or surgical analysis (anatomopathological classification). This classification is known as the Gleason grading system and is widely used. Recently, it has been replaced by a more updated scheme, ISUP grading, which categorises tumours on a scale of 1 to 5. The higher the number, the more aggressive the disease.

Prostate cancer can therefore be divided into:

  • Localised:
    • Low risk. Low PSA (less than 10), not very aggressive in the biopsy (ISUP 1, Gleason 6) and small, confined to the prostate (T1-T2a).
    • Intermediate risk. Intermediate PSA (10-20), moderately aggressive in the biopsy (ISUP 2-3, Gleason 7), confined to the prostate (T2b).
    • High risk. Elevated PSA (greater than 20), aggressive in the biopsy (ISUP 4-5, Gleason greater than or equal to 8), confined to the prostate (T2c)
  • Locally advanced. Tumour that has spread beyond the prostate to nearby organs and/or lymph nodes within the pelvis.
  • Metastatic. Ganglions outside the pelvis or distant metastases (usually bone, liver, lung, etc.).

Prostate Cancer explained in first person


Appointment of Meritxell Costa, Urologist
PSA is a protein made in the prostate, measured in blood tests, and its levels can change in three situations: when there is an abnormal growth in the prostate, when there is an infection, and when there is a tumour.
Appointment of Juan, Patient
I would recommend that people over 50 take the tests.

What is Cancer?

General information about Cancer

Read more

Substantiated information by:

Antoni Vilaseca
Ascensión Gómez Porcel
Izaskun Valduvieco
Meritxell Costa
Oscar Reig Torras
Pilar Paredes Barranco
Rafael Salvador

Published: 6 May 2019
Updated: 6 May 2019

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