What is prostate cancer that OJ Simpson was battling

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Footballer and actor OJ Simpson's death has renewed focus on prostate cancer, the second most prevalent cancer in the US. What is prostate cancer, how common is it, and what are the symptoms?

American footballer and actor OJ Simpson was diagnosed with prostate cancer two months ago. (Image: Cancer Institute/ File)

India Today News Desk

New Delhi,UPDATED: Apr 12, 2024 19:24 IST

One of the major causes of millions of annual deaths, prostate cancer, is back in the headlines after the death of American football player and actor OJ Simpson on Wednesday.

The 76-year-old football Hall of Famer passed away after battling prostate cancer. OJ Simpson was diagnosed with cancer, which he made public two months ago.

OJ Simpson was receiving chemotherapy.

However, Simpson acknowledged that he had "caught cancer" and had undergone chemotherapy, without mentioning that he was diagnosed with prostate cancer.


Prostate cancer is the second most prevalent form of cancer in the United States, accounting for 15% of new cancer cases each year.

It is the most common cancer amongst men, with approximately one in eight men projected to be diagnosed during their lifetime.

The number of men diagnosed with prostate cancer is predicted to double by 2040, said a study in Lancet earlier in April.

The Lancet study said that the annual prostate cancer cases are projected to rise from 1.4 million in 2020 to 2.9 million in 2040.

The annual deaths caused by prostate cancer are set to rise by 85% to almost 7,00,000 over the same time-frame, mainly among men in low- and middle-income countries, the study revealed.

Prostate cancer disproportionately affects African-American and Black men, who are 70% more likely to be diagnosed and nearly twice as likely to die from the disease compared to other men, say studies.


The prostate, a small gland between the bladder and rectum in men, is important in producing a fluid that maintains the quality of sperm cells and lubricates the urethra.

All men are susceptible to prostate cancer, with most cases diagnosed in people with no family history.

Age is the main risk factor for prostate cancer, with it being rare before 40 but kicking in about 80% of men over 80.

However, 1 in 44 men in the US who get prostate cancer will die from it, according to the American Cancer Society.

Symptoms of prostate cancer include increased urge to urinate more frequently, often at night, feeling like rushing to the toilet, difficulty starting to urinate, feeling that your bladder has not emptied fully, and blood in the urine or semen.

The best way to detect prostate cancer early is through regular Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) testing, which measures blood levels of a biomarker of the cancer.


Prostate cancer accounts for 3% of all cancers in India, with an estimated 33,000 to 42,000 new cases diagnosed annually, says the recent Lancet study.

Low awareness of prostate cancer and little systematic Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) Tests make the disease a menace in India too.

However, because of under-reporting of cancer-related deaths, including prostate cancer, the numbers do not fully reflect the gravity of the situation.

Published By:

Sushim Mukul

Published On:

Apr 12, 2024

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