A look into…Prostate Cancer


Prostate cancer is one of the most common male cancers in the developed world. The most significant risk factor for prostate cancer is age. It is very uncommon below the age of 45 however around 20-31% of the cases do occur in men under 65. Genetic factors, such as having a first-degree relative, father or brother, diagnosed with prostate cancer increase the chances of developing prostate cancer by 2-3 times. Additionally, men whose mothers developed breast cancer are up to five times more likely to develop prostate cancer as they can inherit a mutated BRCA2 gene, one of number of genes related to the disease.

Most people with Prostate Cancer do not end up dying from the disease. In many cases it can be safely monitored for a number of years before more active intervention is ever undertaken. To decide how best to treat patients cancer cells are staged to measure how large the growth of cancer cells is and how far it has spread within and without the prostate. Using the TNM (tumour, nodes, and metastasis) staging system T1 and T2 cancers are only present within the prostate however T3 and T4 cancers have spread elsewhere. Biopsies are also taken and Gleason Scores assigned to describe tumour abnormalities in terms of both the most common type of cells as well as the highest grade of abnormality present.

Black Swan Analysis sub-divides each of the four stages of prostate cancer within our Epiomic™ database. We also provide more details on contemporary Gleason scoring which describes tumours in terms of their prognostic grades. The database also provides information about the frequency of patients with prostate cancer who also have the mutated BRCA2 gene. Knowing about all of these patient sub-populations is invaluable when forecasting future trends.

Quick Fact

Did you know ... Prostate cancer rates vary widely across the globe. It is least common in South and East Asia, and more common in Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand. Rates in African Americans are the highest of all.