Up to half the number of men with prostate cancer who die do so as a direct result of the disease, rather than from other causes according to a new study presented at the National Cancer Intelligence Network conference in London.

Researchers from King’s College London looked at 50,066 men with prostate cancer in the Thames Cancer Registry between 1997 and 2007.

Of this group, 20,181 died during the 10 years. And, of these deaths, 49 per cent were recorded as being due to the cancer itself. According to the study twelve per cent of deaths were caused by other cancers, 17 per cent from heart disease, 8 per cent were from pneumonia and 13 per cent were due to other causes.

Prostate cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death in UK men, after lung cancer. Every year around 37,000 men are diagnosed and over 10,100 men die from the disease.Professor Henrik Moller, study author from King’s College London and head of analysis and research at the NCIN, said: “Our data show that a high proportion of men with prostate cancer die from the cancer. Our findings challenge the commonly held view that most men with prostate cancer will die with the disease rather than from it.”

Simon Chowdhury, study author and consultant oncologist at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, said: “This confirms that prostate cancer is a major cause of morbidity and mortality for a large number of men and the importance of ongoing and future research into this area.”


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  • The NCIN was established in June 2008 and its remit is to coordinate the collection, analysis and publication of comparative national statistics on diagnosis, treatment and outcomes for all types of cancer
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