Prostate cancer is generally multifocal and consists of a dominant focus-measured by tumour volume and deemed the index lesion-and one or more separate, secondary tumour foci of smaller volume. Much laboratory and clinical evidence has shown that we need to rethink how we regard low-grade and low-volume prostate lesions. In this Personal View, we discuss why small, low-grade Gleason pattern prostate lesions, which are currently designated as prostate cancer, could be regarded as non-malignant. These lesions either do not meet the criteria of the hallmarks of cancer or robust evidence that they do so is absent, by contrast with large lesions with a high Gleason grade, which seem to cause most metastatic disease. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.