Prostate cancer is frequently diagnosed at a stage where it is believed to be confined to the prostate gland and its immediate surroundings—i.e., it has not yet spread to other areas of the body. Prostate cancer detected at this stage generally is treated either with prostatectomy (surgical removal of the prostate gland) or with radiation. For most men, these procedures are successful in curing the disease. However, for some men, these procedures are not curative and their prostate cancer continues to spread. This disease progression is typically detected by rising levels of serum prostate specific antigen, or PSA, a marker of tumor burden in prostate cancer. Men whose disease continues to progress following surgery or radiation are considered to have advanced prostate cancer.
According to the American Cancer Society, prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among men in the United States, other than skin cancer. The American Cancer Society estimates that approximately 242,000 new cases of prostate cancer were diagnosed, and approximately 28,000 men died of prostate cancer, in the United States alone during 2012. Prostate cancer is thus the second-leading cause of cancer death in men in the United States, after lung cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, about 1 in 6 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime and about 1 in 35 men will die of prostate cancer.