Knowing prostate health helps prevent cancer

Island men are encouraged to speak with their primary care provider about their prostate health and risk of developing cancer.

Prostate cancer is one of the four leading types of cancer on Prince Edward Island and the most frequently diagnosed type in men.  September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.

“Prostate cancer is often a very slow-growing disease and men can experience different symptoms, with some having none at all,” said Dr. Andre Celliers, family physician and chief of family and community health. “While regular screening for prostate cancer is not recommended for all men, it is important that all men talk openly with their primary care provider so they know their risks and understand benefits of testing.”

The number of new prostate cancers diagnosed each year in the province has dropped in recent years to approximately 80 cases compared to a peak of 160 cases diagnosed in 2011. Of those diagnosed with early stage prostate cancer (stage 1 and 2), the five-year survival rate is 99 per cent.

Risk factors for prostate cancer include age, immediate family history (father or brother) of prostate cancer, and being of black ancestry. Maintaining a healthy body weight, exercising regularly, limiting alcohol, and avoiding tobacco use are important to healthy living and preventing cancer.

“A diagnosis of cancer is life changing for the person diagnosed and for their family and loved ones,” said Health and Wellness Minister Robert Henderson. “As a government we are working to support Islanders living with, through, and beyond cancer. Early detection, prevention and treatment are vital, and I encourage all Island men to talk to their primary care providers about prostate cancer and know their risk factors.”

Health PEI, in partnership with health care providers, community stakeholders and patient advisors, is working on recommendations to address prostate cancer within the province. These recommendations are contained within the three-year PEI Cancer Strategy released last spring. In the coming months Health PEI will release a statistical report on prostate cancer for the province, as well as decision aids to assist men and health care providers in discussing prostate cancer risks and screening.

For more information about cancer care on Prince Edward Island, including prevention, screening, treatment, and a copy of the PEI Cancer Strategy, visit

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Media contact:
Amanda Hamel

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