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J Epidemiol Community Health. 2001 Mar;55(3):191-7.

Partitioned prostate cancer prevalence estimates: an informative measure of the disease burden.

Author information

  • Department of Health Science, College of Health and Human Performance, Brigham Young University, Provo, USA. Ray_Merrill@byu.edu



Public health burden of disease is often measured using prevalence statistics. Prevalence of invasive prostate cancer in the United States is presented according to age at diagnosis, time from diagnosis, geographical area, and two races (white and black).


Invasive prostate cancer data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program of the National Cancer Institute is used for obtaining prevalence estimates.


Despite falling prostate cancer incidence rates, the prevalence of this disease continues to rise for both white and black men. Black men diagnosed at ages 60 years and older experience lower levels of prevalence of prostate cancer than white men because of poorer survival and a smaller proportion of black men living to older ages where the disease becomes common. Black men require fewer years of follow up than white men to capture over 99% of prevalent cases (that is, 14 years versus 16 years, respectively). Prevalence estimates in the United States are traditionally based on Connecticut data. On 1 January 1997, United States prostate cancer prevalence estimates based on Connecticut are overestimated for white men and underestimated for black men.


Partitioned prevalence estimates may provide a more meaningful and informative measure of the disease burden than conventional prevalence estimates. Prostate cancer prevalence estimates based on SEER rather than Connecticut data are better representative of the United States.

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