*Requests /or reprints: Department of Urology, Gunma Cancer Center, 617–1 Takabayashi-Nithi, Ota Japan


Background Prostate cancer is rare in Asia, but the number of patients is increasing in Japan. We conducted an epidemiological study of prostate cancer in Gunma Prefecture, Japan, to investigate the trends and characteristics of the disease.

Methods: The subjects were 1.411 prostate cancer patients newly diagnosed between 1985 and and 656 patients who died from prostate cancer between 1981 and 1992. The incidence and mortality rates were calculated by year, demographic region and age.

Results: The yearly incidence rate showed an increase but the mortality rate showed no marked fluctuations. There was no significant difference between urban and ruraI districts in either incidence or mortality rate. The incidence rate tended to be high in the northern part of the prefecture, but no marked variation in mortality rate was seen. The incidence and mortality rates in districts with a history of manganese mining were high compared to those in districts without mining. In contrast, the incidence and mortality rates in districts with a history of zinc mining were comparatively lower. Both incidence and mortality rates showed a marked increase with age. The age-specific incidence showed a double logarithmic relationship to age.

Conclusions: The increase of the yearly incidence rate might be due to changes in lifestyle and environmental factors, improved diagnostic techniques, and increased awareness among the general public regarding prostate disease. Further investigation is needed to clarify the pattern and the causes of regional differences in the incidence and mortality rates. The possibilities that manganese and zinc might be related to prostatic carcinogenesis are suggested. Int J Urol 1995:2:191–197