Prostate cancer

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Survival statistics for prostate cancer

Survival statistics for prostate cancer are very general estimates and must be interpreted very carefully. Because these statistics are based on the experience of groups of people, they cannot be used to predict a particular person’s chances of survival. In general, most men diagnosed with prostate cancer do not die from the disease itself and will die from other causes.

There are many different ways to measure and report cancer survival statistics. Your doctor can explain the statistics for prostate cancer and what they mean to you.

Net survival

Net survival represents the probability of surviving cancer in the absence of other causes of death. It is used to give an estimate of the percentage of people who will survive their cancer.

In Canada, the 5-year net survival for prostate cancer is 95%. This means that, on average, about 95% of men diagnosed with prostate cancer will survive for at least 5 years.

Relative survival

Relative survival looks at how likely people with cancer are to survive after their diagnosis compared to people in the general population who do not have cancer but who share similar characteristics (such as age and sex).

Survival by stage

Survival varies with each stage of prostate cancer. The grade of prostate cancer is also a strong predictor for survival.

Generally, the earlier prostate cancer is diagnosed and treated, the better the outcome. Because prostate cancer tends to grow slowly, it can often be successfully treated. In addition, there are many treatments available for prostate cancer and it often responds well to treatment.

Advanced and recurrent prostate cancers and castrate-resistant prostate cancer (prostate cancer that doesn’t respond to or comes back after hormonal therapy) can be difficult to treat because they do not respond well to some treatments.

There are no specific Canadian statistics available for the different stages of prostate cancer. The following information comes from a variety of sources. It may include statistics from other countries that are likely to have similar outcomes as in Canada.

Prostate cancer survival
Stage5-year relative survival

1, 2 or 3

nearly 100%

4 (when the cancer hasn’t spread to other parts of the body)

nearly 100%

4 (when the cancer has spread to other parts of the body)

28%

Questions about survival

Talk to your doctor about your prognosis. A prognosis depends on many factors, including:

  • your health history
  • the type of cancer
  • the stage
  • certain characteristics of the cancer
  • the treatments chosen
  • how the cancer responds to treatment

Only a doctor familiar with these factors can put all of this information together with survival statistics to arrive at a prognosis.

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