It's important to know how to talk to your doctor to understand a recent diagnosis of prostate cancer.
More than 2 million men in the United States are prostate cancer survivors. But when your doctor first diagnoses you with prostate cancer, you will likely experience stress, confusion or fear. You may feel overwhelmed and not know what you should do next.
Your doctor can be a great resource for you during this time. We have compiled a list of questions for you to draw from to help you understand what prostate cancer is and what your treatment options are. Open and frank communication is important, the American Cancer Society says, and no question is too small to ask.
Understanding Your Diagnosis
The first thing you want to do is make sure you know what prostate cancer is and what your diagnosis means. The American Cancer Society suggests starting with these questions:
- What type of prostate cancer do I have?
- How do I get a copy of my pathology report?
- What is my PSA (prostate-specific antigen) level, and what does that mean?
- What is my cancer's grade and score (Gleason grading and scoring)?
- What are the odds that the cancer has spread beyond my prostate?
- What are my chances of survival?
- Do I need additional tests before treatment?
Understanding Treatment Options
Once you have a good grasp on the type and severity of your prostate cancer, you will want to discuss treatment. The American Cancer Society and the Prostate Cancer Foundation have listed several questions to ask. Here are some of the most important:
- How much experience do you have treating this type of cancer?
- Are you comfortable with me exploring other treatment options and speaking to other specialists before settling on a final plan of action?
- What treatment choices do I have?
- What treatment do you recommend and why?
- What is the goal of the treatment?
- What are the benefits?
- What are common problems?
- Will I risk incontinence, impotence or urinary problems?
- What are the pros and cons of radiation versus surgery in my case?
- What is my risk of recurrence after surgery or radiation?
- Do I need immediate treatment?
- What can I do to improve my chances of success?
More questions will arise as you get further along with your prostate cancer treatment. Never hesitate to ask for clarification on procedures or terminology you don't understand or bring up concerns you have. We provide a full range of diagnostic and treatment services on site at Aventura Comprehensive Cancer Center to make it easy for our patients to access all aspects of cancer care. For more information, contact us at 305-682-2151.
Aventura Hospital and Medical Center is also participating in "Know Your Stats," a football viewing party and men's health event on Sept. 16, 2012, at Privet at Gulfstream Park Racetrack and Casino. Men's health experts from seven hospitals will be on hand during a broadcast of the Miami Dolphins-Oakland Raiders game to talk to guests about prostate health and other issues. It starts at noon and is free.