Projected “dramatic” increase in diagnosis of prostate cancer in Canada

A new report has suggested that there will be a 201 percent increase in the annual number of prostate cancer diagnoses in Canada between 2009 and 2021.

The new paper by Quon et al., available on line in BJU International, is based on expectations about:

  • The aging Canadian population
  • The widespread increase in the use of PSA testing
  • A reduction in the PSA level at which to recommend biopsy (down to 2.6 ng/ml)
  • Improved sensitivity (accuracy) of prostate biopsy

According to Quon et al.’s analysis:

  • The factors with the greatest impact on prostate cancer diagnosis in 2021 compared with 2009 are
    • The aging of the Canadian population (which will increase diagnosis by 39 percent)
    • The reduction the PSA threshold for prostate biopy prostate biopsy (which will increase diagnosis by 200 percent).
  • Their “best-case” scenario therefore suggests a 39 percent increase in annual diagnoses to 35,121 new cases per year in 2021
  • Their “most-likely” scenario (taking account of all four factors) suggests a 201 percent increase in annual diagnoses to 76,379 new cases per year by 2021.

The authors note that, “Significant planning will be required to manage this considerable increase in new prostate cancers.”

The “New” Prostate Cancer InfoLink would also note that this increase in numbers of patients may also have relatively limited impact on the numbers of men who actually would either progress to have metastatic disease or die of prostate cancer. Any increase in these numbers would be limited to the aging of the Canadian population. As a consequence, while there may be a 200 percent increase in numbers of diagnosis, the numbers of patients dying of prostate cancer is (at worst) likely to increase by significantly less than 39 percent.

One Response

  1. Agreed …. To expand the last paragraph — it may well reduce the number of men dying of prostate cancer since earlier diagnosis of men with metastatic disease may allow more men to enjoy treatment (thereby prolonging their lives) and they will expire from other causes.


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