The most common cancer in men in the UK and USA, and the second most common male cancer worldwide, prostate cancer typically develops slowly. Symptoms occur when the prostate becomes large enough to impact the urethra, resulting in urinary frequency. The cause of prostate cancer is unknown, but risk factors include age, ethnicity, and weight. Screening can be conducted via a blood test for prostate-specific antigen, while diagnostic tests include physical examination, MRI, and biopsies.
For most men with prostate cancer, treatment is not required immediately. Early stage disease can be monitored using ‘watchful waiting’ or ‘active surveillance’ strategies. New non-steroidal anti-androgen drugs, such as apalutamide and enzalutamide, are also being investigated to slow progression of non-metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer. Active treatments include prostatectomy or trans-urethral resection of the prostate, radiotherapy, hormone therapy, chemotherapy, and steroids.
Priority research areas in prostate cancer include treatment sequencing, strategies to delay disease progression, improving bone health and quality of life, and novel therapies such as vaccines.