Prostate cancer cases worldwide likely to double by 2040, analysis finds

Health 09:32 05.04.2024

The number of men diagnosed with prostate cancer worldwide is projected to double to 2.9 million a year by 2040, with annual deaths predicted to rise by 85%, according to the largest study of its kind, Ednews reports via The Guardian.

Prostate cancer is already a major cause of death and disability, and the most common form of male cancer in more than 100 countries. But with populations ageing and life expectancy rising globally, a new analysis forecasts a dramatic surge in cases and deaths over the next 15 years.


Diagnoses are projected to increase from 1.4m a year in 2020 to 2.9m by 2040, which will mean about 330 men being told they have the disease every hour.

The number of deaths worldwide is predicted to rise by 85% over the 20-year period, from 375,000 in 2020 to almost 700,000 by 2040. The true death toll will probably be higher, experts say, because of underdiagnosis and missing data in low- and middle-income countries.

The findings were published in the Lancet as part of its landmark commission on prostate cancer, and will be presented at the European Association of Urology’s annual congress in Paris on Saturday.

Ageing populations and increasing life expectancy mean the number of older men worldwide who are living for longer is rising. As the main risk factors for prostate cancer – such as being 50 or older and having a family history of the disease – are unavoidable, experts say it will be impossible to prevent the surge in cases simply via lifestyle changes or public health interventions.

However, wider awareness of the symptoms of the disease, access to testing initiatives, earlier diagnosis, and advances in treatments could still help reduce the burden and save lives, according to the authors of the 40-page report.

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