The extent that breast cancer awareness is promoted may have you believing that this disease is a LOT deadlier than prostate cancer.
Let’s first take a look at how many women in the United States are diagnosed with breast cancer on an annual basis.
According to the National Cancer Institute Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results Program (SEER), the estimated new cases for breast cancer in 2017 is:
For prostate cancer, SEER predicts:
There’s no doubt that breast cancer in the U.S. is far more common than is that of prostate.
But does this make it deadlier? Let’s look at SEER’s 2017 estimation for deaths from breast and prostate cancer, respectively:
• 40, 610
Now let’s do a little math.
• 40,610 is 16.06 percent of 252,710.
• 26,730 is 16.56 percent of 161,360.
This means that prostate cancer, relative to total cases diagnosed for 2017, is 0.50 percent “deadlier” than breast cancer.
Now make sure you read that figure correctly: zero point fifty percent. This is HALF a percent – a very nominal value.
This is such a small margin, that it wouldn’t be surprising if in future years, including 2018, the difference shifted towards breast cancer as far as being the more “deadly.”
“Breast and prostate cancer have very similar incidence and mortality rates,” says Jonathan W. Simons, MD, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Prostate Cancer Foundation, David H. Koch Chair.
Dr. Simons further explains, “Even stage for stage they have similar outcomes. Prostate cancer as a field is much further ahead in many regards to active surveillance and not over-treating patients, while breast cancer is further ahead in predictive biomarkers to personalize treatment and utilize multimodality care.”
More awareness = more vigilance by individuals = more early detection = higher survival rates for both of these cancers.
Remember, though many more women die each year from breast cancer when compared to men dying of prostate cancer, there are also proportionately that many more new diagnoses every year.
Both of these diseases are virtually equally deadly when detected at a late stage and equally curable when found at an early stage.
Dr. Simons is an internationally recognized physician-scientist, oncologist and acclaimed investigator in translational prostate cancer research.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.