The incidence and prevalence of prostate cancer is increasing. A number of aetiological factors including age, race, family history and diet have been implicated. The majority of patients present with disease which is amenable only to palliation. Digital rectal examination, serum prostate-specific antigen and transrectal ultrasound can lead to a prostatic biopsy. Transrectal ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging, bone scan and a chest X-ray are used for staging. The management of localised cancer is shrouded in uncertainty. Three options exist, watchful waiting, radiotherapy, and radical total prostatectomy. The published data are inadequate for a valid comparison of these, and none has been shown to offer an advantage. Surgery, and to a lesser degree radiotherapy, have a significant morbidity. It is hoped that through better understanding our management of this disease will improve.