You are using an outdated browser. We suggest you update your browser for a better experience. Click here for update.
Close this notification.
Skip to main content Skip to search

Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer starts in the cells of the prostate, which is a small gland in the male reproductive system that produces semen. The prostate gland is located below the bladder in front of the rectum and surrounds the upper part of the urethra.

The most common type of prostate cancer is adenocarcinoma of the prostate.

To learn more about prostate cancer, visit the Canadian Cancer Society.

What’s on this Page

You will find Cancer Care Ontario information, resources and tools for:

  • patients, families and caregivers 
  • anyone interested in prostate cancer 
  • healthcare providers

You will also find links to other organizations that provide information related to prostate cancer.

Prevention

There are 2 main things you can do to lower your risk of prostate cancer:

Know Your Personal Risks

  • Your risk increases after age 50 and peaks around 70 to 74.
  • Your risk decreases slightly after age 75, but still remains high.
  • Your risk is higher if you have a father or brother who had prostate cancer.
  • Prostate cancer rates are highest in African men and lowest in Asian men. 

If you are a man in one of these higher risk groups, talk to your doctor or nurse practitioner about regularly checking your prostate health.

Maintain a Healthy Body Weight

If you’re not at a healthy weight, losing even a small amount of weight can help lower the risk to your health. Small changes in your diet and physical activity may be enough to help you become healthier.

Early Detection

Due to the potential harms of screening, including over-diagnosis and over-treatment, Cancer Care Ontario does not support an organized, population-based screening program for prostate cancer. We will continue to watch for new evidence on prostate cancer screening. 

Speaking to Your Doctor About the Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) Test

If you are a man and you have questions about whether or not you should have a PSA test, talk to your doctor or nurse practitioner. You can use this Test Decision Grid to help guide your discussion:

Healthcare Provider Resources

Diagnosis

During diagnosis, a person may need many tests to confirm the cancer. Waiting for test results to come back can be stressful.  If you are waiting for a diagnosis, talk to your doctor or nurse practitioner about managing stress during this difficult time.

For more information about diagnostic tests for prostate cancer, visit the Canadian Cancer Society.

Starting the Diagnostic Process

Not everyone follows the same diagnostic process. Some people may be helped through the process by their family doctor, while others may be helped by a specialist or a Diagnostic Assessment Program (DAP).

In many cases, a family doctor is the first contact point in the process of diagnosing cancer and is the one to refer a patient to a specialist or DAP.

To check if a DAP is available in your area, go to our map of DAP locations.

Treatment

Treatment for prostate cancer will depend on:

  • the type of cancer
  • the stage of cancer
  • which treatments the person chooses to have 

Treatments may include:

  • surgery
  • drug therapy (chemotherapy) 
  • radiation therapy
  • other treatment options
  • clinical drug trials

To learn more about types of prostate cancer treatment, visit the Canadian Cancer Society.

Drug Therapy Information

You can learn more about specific cancer drugs using our patient information sheets. These provide information about cancer drug therapies, including what they are used for and how to manage side effects. To find patient information sheets, go to the Drugs page.

You can also see About Chemotherapy for general information about cancer drug therapy.

Quitting Smoking Can Help Your Treatment

It’s never too late to quit smoking. Whether you are scheduled to have surgery, radiation treatment or chemotherapy, quitting smoking can help your treatment work better. It also can reduce the chance of your cancer coming back or getting another form of cancer. For more information and resources, see Benefits of Quitting Smoking for People with Cancer.

Managing Symptoms and Side Effects

People with cancer may have symptoms related to their cancer or as a side effect of treatment. 

Our symptom management guides explain:

  • how to recognize symptoms
  • what to do and what not to do 
  • when to contact the person’s healthcare team

The guides are available for patients and for healthcare providers. Each patient guide also comes with links to helpful resources like courses, books, videos and worksheets.

Our side effect information sheets offer tips for people who have side effects from chemotherapy treatment.

If you are a person with cancer, please remember that it’s important to discuss any symptoms or concerns with your healthcare team.

Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are scientific studies that test the safety and effectiveness of a medical treatment. Find clinical trials in Canada.

Palliative Care

Palliative care supports people with life-threatening illness and their families. The goal of this care is to relieve suffering so people can have the best possible quality of life. Palliative care should start when a person is diagnosed with a serious illness.

To learn more, go to the Palliative Care page.

After Treatment

When treatment ends, a person moves into a new phase of their cancer experience. For many patients, a lot of the after-treatment care will be given by healthcare providers in the community, like a family doctor or nurse practitioner.

Follow-Up Care

Follow-up care is the care given after active treatment for prostate cancer is over. It focuses on:

  • helping the person recover from the cancer and treatments
  • finding cancer early if it comes back

To learn more about follow-up care, visit the Canadian Cancer Society.

Managing Ongoing Symptoms

A person may have symptoms from cancer for months or years after treatment has ended. These are called long-term effects or late effects.

If you have ongoing symptoms after being treated for cancer, you can find information on how to manage them in our Symptom and Side Effect Management guides.

To better understand the late or long-term effects of cancer treatment, visit the Canadian Cancer Society for a helpful overview.

End-of-Life Care

Each person has a different experience during their final months and days of life. Their symptoms may change as their illness continues, and their needs for information and support will be unique. Family members will also have questions, concerns and needs of their own.

If you are helping a family member through their final months of life, talk to your healthcare team about your questions and concerns as they come up. They can give you information and resources to support you and your family, and help you make decisions and plan for end-of-life care.

For more information, go to the Palliative Care page.

Facts

  • In 2013, 7,647 cases of prostate cancer were diagnosed in Ontario, making it the most common cancer among men. There were also 1,499 prostate cancer deaths, making it the 3rd leading cause of cancer death in men.
  • The rate of deaths from prostate cancer has been going down over the last 20 years.
  • Survival from prostate cancer is very high. Men diagnosed with prostate cancer are 95.4% as likely to survive 5 years after their diagnosis compared to similar men in the general population.
  • Survival from prostate cancer is so high that men diagnosed at stages I, II or III are just as likely to survive 5 years as similar men in the general population.
  • Deaths from prostate cancer occur most often in men 80 years of age and older – likely because of the long natural history of the disease.