The Importance of Prostate Cancer Testing: Know Your Number
Background: Overview of Prostate Cancer What is the Impact of Prostate Cancer?

The estimated number of men who died from prostate cancer in 2013 in Canada was 3,900.1

The death rate from prostate cancer has been dropping steadily over the past 10 years, due to better detection of prostate cancer at earlier stages and better treatment options becoming available. Based on estimates from statistics from 2006-2008, the chances of being alive five years after a diagnosis of prostate cancer is 96%.3 Research has shown that only about 50% of men who are diagnosed with prostate cancer will eventually die of causes related to prostate cancer.5

Some of the common symptoms of prostate cancer can be quite bothersome, including difficulty with urination. The treatments used for prostate cancer may also cause other problems. Surgery is a common treatment for prostate cancer. This may lead to sexual or urinary problems for some men.6,7 Medications that are used to treat prostate cancer can have side effects that can cause problems as well. Some medications that use hormones to treat the disease can lead to problems with attention, depression, hot flushes, osteoporosis, decrease in muscle size, fatigue, weight gain, erectile dysfunction, or blood abnormalities.8

Men who have more advanced prostate cancer may have other symptoms, such as feeling more tired than usual, kidney problems or bone pain.9 Some men with advanced prostate cancer are treated with chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy, which can also have serious unpleasant side effects.10,11

For more information on possible treatments for prostate cancer, including potential side effects, see Prostate Cancer Canada’s web resources here. Each potential treatment is discussed in clear terms, including what the treatment is, how it is given and what the possible side effects might be.

The impact of prostate cancer is also felt in terms of financial stress on the healthcare system. A Canadian study published in 2000 estimated that the cost of managing prostate cancer was approximately $3.89 billion per year.12 This was about 5% of the total healthcare budget for that year. With newer, more expensive treatments now available to treat men with hormone refractory prostate cancer, these costs are likely to increase further.