Prostate cancer

The prostate, or bladder neck gland, is one of the male gonads. The others are the testicles and seminal vesicles. Together, they produce semen. The prostate gland is located directly below the bladder and surrounds the top part of the urethra. The size of the prostate is roughly equivalent to that of a walnut. The growth and function of the gland is controlled by the male sex hormone testosterone, which is mainly produced in the testicles. Testosterone is a prerequisite for prostate cancer to occur.

Incidence and mortality

Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer in men in the Western world, not least in the United States and the Nordic countries. More than 1.4 million cases worldwide in 2020 with 375,000 dying of prostate cancer.

The seven largest pharmaceutical markets for prostate cancer are the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Japan. The market size is estimated at US$12 billion in 2022 and is expected to reach US$27 billion in 2032.  Approximately 20-25%, corresponding to more than 300-350,000 patients with prostate cancer, develop incurable castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) with bone metastases

In Sweden, prostate cancer is the most common cancer diagnosis for men, with about 12,000 diagnosed cases in 2022. Prostate cancer is the form of cancer among men in Sweden that causes the most deaths. In 2022, 2,149 men died as a result of prostate cancer. In comparison, about 1,379 women die of breast cancer in 2022. In Sweden, there are about 128000 men who have or have had prostate cancer (2021). The number of diagnosed prostate cancer cases has increased sharply over the past 35 years. The disease is uncommon before the age of 50, but thereafter the incidence increases with age, and half of the cases are found in men over the age of 70. One in eight men is at risk of developing prostate cancer before the age of 753. The number of cases has increased partly due to increased life expectancy and the fact that more men have time to develop prostate cancer. However, the main reason for the increasing incidence is that more and more asymptomatic men check their PSA levels and thus increase the likelihood of being diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Roughly speaking, one in four men diagnosed with prostate cancer will die as a result of prostate cancer. A common denominator is that those who die of prostate cancer have developed castration-resistant disease. Approximately 90% of these patients suffer from bone metastases, which is why prostate cancer is often considered a bone disease. Unfortunately, there are currently no curative drugs for metastatic prostate cancer, CRPC. Thus, there is a great need for improved drugs that can slow down the disease more effectively and prolong the survival of the patient while maintaining a good quality of life.

Prostate cancer in Sweden4 Number of men
Number of new cases per year in 2021 ca 12000
People living with the diagnosis as of 2021 (prevalence) 128587
Share of all cancers (%) 35,2
Risk of being affected before the age of 75 (%) 13,0
Number of deaths per year in 2022 2 149
Percentage of all cancer deaths (%) 16,6
Risk of dying from the disease before the age of 75 (%) 1,3