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Navigating prostate cancer: a comprehensive guide from Carepath

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men, with thousands of new cases diagnosed each year in Canada. Understanding the nuances of prostate cancer, its risk factors, signs and symptoms, diagnosis, treatment options, and life after diagnosis is crucial for those affected by this condition. 

What is Carepath? 

Carepath is a cancer assistance program backed by oncology physicians that provides medical and emotional support to plan members and their families. OTIP plan members who have long term disability (LTD) coverage and their eligible family members can access Carepath’s services. 

Throughout this article, Dina Linardos, Carepath’s Director of Operations, will share insights on how Carepath can assist throughout a prostate cancer journey.


Understanding Prostate Cancer 

"Prostate cancer develops in the prostate gland, a small, walnut-sized organ that produces seminal fluid in men," explains Linardos, "The cancer typically starts as a slow-growing tumor and may remain confined to the prostate for an extended period. However, it can also be aggressive, spreading to other parts of the body." 


Risk Factors 

Several risk factors are associated with an increased likelihood of developing prostate cancer. While some factors are beyond one's control, such as age and family history, others can be influenced: 

  • Age: The risk of prostate cancer increases with age, with most cases occurring in men over 50. 

  • Family History: Men with a family history of prostate cancer are at a higher risk. If a close relative has had the disease, the risk increases significantly. 

  • Diet: A diet high in saturated fats and low in fruits and vegetables may contribute to a higher risk of prostate cancer. 

  • Lifestyle: Smoking and obesity have been linked to a slightly increased risk of aggressive prostate cancer. 


Signs and Symptoms 

Prostate cancer can be asymptomatic in its early stages, making regular check-ups and screenings crucial. However, as the cancer progresses, some common signs and symptoms may manifest, including: 

  • Frequent urination, especially at night

  • Difficulty starting and stopping urination

  • Weak or interrupted urine flow

  • Pain or discomfort in the pelvic area or lower back

  • Blood in urine or semen

  • Erectile dysfunction


Diagnosing Prostate Cancer 

Early detection and diagnosis are key to effective treatment. There are a variety of diagnostic methods used to confirm prostate cancer, including an antigen test, rectal examination and biopsy. 

"The Carepath Cancer Assistance Program is designed to assist you during the most crucial part of the diagnosis phase, preparing you for next steps, questions to ask at the medical appointments, and explanation of test results. The specialized Oncology Nurse provides guidance, assistance, and support from early diagnosis, during active treatment, and beyond."   ~Dina Linardos, Director of Operations, Carepath


Treating Prostate Cancer 

The choice of treatment for prostate cancer depends on various factors, including the stage of the cancer, the patient's overall health, and personal preferences. Common treatment options include active surveillance, surgery, radiation therapy, hormone therapy, chemotherapy and immunotherapy. 

"The Carepath Oncology Nurse will review treatment plan options with the Medical Advisory Board and ensure they are in line with national standards of care. In addition, the nurse provides support and guidance with side effect management throughout the treatment phase.”   ~Dina Linardos, Director of Operations, Carepath


Life After Prostate Cancer 

Surviving prostate cancer often brings about changes in one's life. It's essential to maintain regular follow-up appointments with healthcare providers to monitor for any recurrence or complications. Many men experience side effects, but these can often be managed with support and treatment. Support groups, counseling, and lifestyle adjustments can help patients adapt to life after prostate cancer. 


Prostate cancer is a significant health concern for Canadian men, but with early detection and appropriate treatment, it is possible to overcome this challenge and lead a fulfilling life.

OTIP plan members who have long term disability (LTD) coverage and their eligible family members can access Carepath’s services. Visit to learn more about how Carepath can support you and your family after a cancer diagnosis. 

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