Most (but not all) prostate cancers grow slowly. It can take 5-10 years after the PSA rises above 2.5 ng/mL for it to ‘appear clinically’, that is, cause symptoms. The median survival time (period for which 50% of men survive with treatment) after the PSA starts to rise is reported to be 17 years. For this reason, a PSA that starts to rise in an older man, say 75-80 years, is usually not considered to be a threat to his health. In a man just over 50, however, it is significant.
These figures are presented as a guide only – the outlook for anyone diagnosed with prostate cancer depends on many clinical factors such as the tumour grade, the stage of the disease and other illnesses he may have.