The recently announced GLOBOCAN 2008 assessment of the worldwide burden of cancer includes a global estimate of 258,000 deaths from prostate cancer in 2008, and a global incidence of 913,000 cases of prostate cancer that same year.
Based on these data, worldwide, prostate cancer is the second most common form of cancer diagnosed in men, the fifth most common cancer overall, and the sixth leading cause of death from cancer in men. The fact that prostate cancer is “only” the sixth leading cause of death from cancer overall may come as a surprise to some readers, since it is the second leading cause of cancer death among males in the USA. However, in many parts of the world, there are multiple reasons why men may die of other causes including other forms of cancer long before they can have prostate cancer diagnosed or they are likely to die from this form of cancer.
The GLOBOCAN 2008 database confirms that prostate cancer mortality rates are generally higher in populations which are of predominantly black African origin (such as the Caribbean and sub-Saharan Africa), very low in Asia, and of intermediate values in Europe countries and Oceania. It is interesting to note that while the incidence of prostate cancer is 3.2 times higher in the USA than it is in Russia (as just one example), the mortality rates from prostate cancer in these two nations are very similar (at 9.7/100,000 in the USA and 10.8/100,000 in Russia). This reflects the fact that PSA testing is significantly more common in the USA, but does not appear necessarily seem to translate into a major impact on mortality rates even though men in the USA tend to have a notably higher life expectancy than men in Russia.