Media Release

New Canadian Cancer Statistics report reveals 50% decline in prostate cancer death rate since peak in 1995


A new report released today by the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) reveals significant progress is being made in saving the lives of people with prostate cancer. Since its peak in 1995, the prostate cancer death rate has declined by 50%. This progress reflects remarkable advancements in research that have led to life-saving treatments.

Canadian Cancer Statistics 2021 was developed by the Canadian Cancer Statistics Advisory Committee in collaboration with CCS, Statistics Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada. The report showed the prostate cancer death rate has been cut in half over the last 26 years – from 45.1 to an expected 22.7 per 100,000 males. Nevertheless, an estimated 4,500 will die from prostate cancer this year.

“Prostate cancer continues to take an enormous toll on the 1 in 8 men expected to be diagnosed with the disease in their lifetime, but thanks to the perseverance of researchers, we have made tremendous breakthroughs,” says Elizabeth Holmes, Senior Manager of Policy and Surveillance, CCS. “By funding innovative research projects, we have been able to enhance treatments that improve outcomes and extend the lives of people with prostate cancer, helping them live longer and healthier lives.”

Advancements in precision surgery and targeted radiation treatments have played a major role in helping to cut the prostate cancer death rate in half.

“When the prostate cancer death rate was at its peak in the mid-1990s, there was little attention given to research for the disease, but since then we have seen tremendous progress as a result of strategic investments by organizations like the Canadian Cancer Society and the former Prostate Cancer Canada,” says Dr Stuart Edmonds, Executive Vice-President of Mission - Research and Advocacy at the Canadian Cancer Society. “Canada is now a leader internationally and has made advances that have changed practices worldwide.”

We know that when prostate cancer is found and treated early, the chances of successful treatment are better. Nearly 100% of individuals diagnosed with prostate cancer will survive at least five years if the cancer is detected early.  Over the last 10 years, the Canadian Cancer Society and the former Prostate Cancer Canada (PCC), with its partner the Movember Foundation, have invested approximately $132 million in research focused on prostate cancer. PCC amalgamated with CCS in 2020. These funds supported research that focuses on the whole cancer continuum – from prevention to treatment to supportive care for people with or who have survived cancer.

“We are at an exciting tipping point – many of the investments in prostate cancer research made over the last 25 years will be showing their impact in the coming years,” says Dr Edmonds. “We know that with further investments in prostate cancer research, we can continue to take significant steps to further reduce mortality rates.”

After adopting a healthy lifestyle and losing over 55 pounds, Charlie Taylor was in the best shape of his life when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2013. Thanks to a life-saving surgery, Charlie has been cancer free for 8 years. He continues to support the prostate cancer community by raising funds and awareness about the disease.

“Progress in prostate cancer research is vital – if we can help to prolong somebody’s life by funding world class research, I believe that’s very important,” says Charlie. “Because of advancements in research, treatments have been successful for people like me. Today, I’m cancer free and cherishing every moment with my family.”

Despite advancements, prostate cancer continues to be the most commonly diagnosed cancer and the third leading cause of cancer death in males, expected to account for 20% of all diagnoses in males for 2021 and 10% of all cancer deaths. Prostate cancer is also one of the least preventable types of cancer based on currently known risk factors.

Other key findings in the report
Cancer continues to be the leading cause of death in Canada. One in four Canadians are expected to die from cancer.

  • About 43% of Canadians are expected to be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lifetime.
  • Five-year survival for cancer is now 64%, up from 55% in the early 1990s
  • The cancer death rate has decreased an estimated 29% since its peak in 1988.
  • In 2021, almost 239,000 Canadians are expected to be diagnosed with cancer and nearly 85,000 are expected to die of cancer.

To learn more about cancer in Canada, visit and view the full report or read the backgrounder. To learn more about prostate cancer, read the prostate cancer backgrounder.


About Canadian Cancer Statistics
Canadian Cancer Statistics is developed through a collaboration of the Canadian Cancer Society, Statistics Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada. Cancer incidence and mortality data are from the Canadian Cancer Registry and the Canadian Vital Statistics Death databases, respectively, which are maintained at Statistics Canada. The data originate from the provincial and territorial cancer registries and vital statistics registrars. Statistics Canada completed all analyses related to projecting incidence and mortality, assessing trends in mortality over time and estimating survival. The Public Health Agency of Canada completed analyses related to assessing trends in incidence over time and estimating the probability of developing and dying of cancer. The Canadian Cancer Society coordinates the production and dissemination of this publication and supports it with charitable funds. For more than 30 years, this publication has been providing information that helps decide what support and services are needed and what research should be done. It also helps assess the impact of prevention, early detection and treatment. For more information about Canadian Cancer Statistics, visit

About the Canadian Cancer Society
The Canadian Cancer Society works tirelessly to save and improve lives. We fund the brightest minds in cancer research. We provide a compassionate support system for all those affected by cancer, from coast to coast and for all types of cancer. As the voice for Canadians who care about cancer, we work with governments to establish health policies to prevent cancer and better support those living with the disease. No other organization does all that we do to improve lives today and to change the future of cancer forever.

Help us make a difference. Call 1-888-939-3333 or visit today. 

For more information, please contact: 

Jessica Abdilla
Communications Specialist
Canadian Cancer Society