After years of decline, the death rate trend for prostate cancer has stabilized from 2013–2015, according to the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI’s) 2018 Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer.

Overall incidence of new cases of prostate cancer continued to decline, but incidence of distant-stage prostate cancer also increased from 2010–2014. Newly diagnosed patients were less likely to present with low-risk, localized disease.

The report pointed out the possible correlation with prostate specific antigen (PSA) testing rates. When PSA testing rose from 1988–1992, distant-stage prostate cancer rates declined from 1991–1994. But in 2008, when the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommended an “I” rating (insufficient evidence) for PSA testing in men younger than 75 years, PSA testing rates declined. In 2017, USPSTF changed the recommendation again to “C” (patient decision to be screened), which may increase future PSA testing rates and reduce rates of distant-stage prostate cancer. 

NCI indicated in the report that the findings “may inform, but are not comprehensive enough to support by themselves, changes in screening policies.”