Recently diagnosed with prostate cancer – 10 important questions you should ask your doctor

A prostate cancer diagnosis may come unexpectedly. Considering that prostate cancer develops slowly and without causing severe symptoms, you might have been taken by surprise when diagnosed with cancer.

Generally, people are not able to organize their thoughts under stressful conditions. Probably there were many times when you found yourself emotionally distressed and could not figure out an action path. You may have many questions running across your mind and it may be difficult to plan a conversation with your doctor. If this is your case, the following list of questions will come in handy. Print a copy of these questions, have them with you and write down the doctor’s answers. This way, you will be able to better structure your thoughts and plan for the future.

1. What stage of prostate cancer do I have?

Why is this question important?

There are more stages of prostate cancer, ranging from the early stage to the most advanced stage, the metastatic prostate cancer. Based on the PSA test, biopsy, Gleason score and other exams previously performed, your doctor can determine the stage of your cancer. Commonly, there are 4 stages of cancer, and you should clearly know what is your particular situation.

2. How aggressive is my cancer and what is its growing rate?

Why is this question important?

Based on the answer to this question, it can be determined whether active surveillance is an option for you or not. If you have been diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer that has not spread beyond the prostate, you can consider the active surveillance approach, which involves actively monitoring the disease until abnormal changes occur.

3. What treatment do you recommend for my particular type of cancer?

Why is this question important?

Prostate cancer has many treatment options. The options available are:

  • Hormone Therapy – Testosterone is considered to be fueling the tumor. Hormone therapy is used to suppress a man’s testosterone level in hopes of starving the prostate cancer tumor.
  • Radiation Therapy – Radiation Therapy uses external beam radiation to target and destroy the cancerous cells.
  • CyberKnife – CyberKnife is a type of radiosurgery.
  • HIFU – High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound is used to heat and destroy the diseased tissue.
  • Prostatectomy – An operation made to remove a part or the entire prostate gland.
  • Laparoscopic Prostatectomy – It is a type of minimally invasive radical prostatectomy performed through five small incisions.
  • Da Vinci Robotic Surgery – It is a minimally invasive procedure which employs the latest advancements in robotics and computer technology to completely remove the prostate cancer.

Ask your doctor for his recommendation and the reasons for considering it the best treatment in your case.

4. What are the possible side-effects for the recommended treatment?

Why is this question important?

Each treatment conveys a series of side-effects. You need to be thoroughly informed about the short and long term effects associated with the recommended treatment. Incontinence and impotence are ones of the most common and bothersome side effects men usually experience after prostate cancer removal. Ask your doctor about the chances you have to encounter these problems. Also, get informed about other urinary and rectal problems that may happen after treatment.

5. What can be done to relive the possible side effects?

Why is this question important?

There are treatments which may cause short term side effects that can be easy to treat if you know what to expect and for how long. Ask your doctor about the best practices in terms of relieving side effects. Urinary and erectile dysfunctions, that can last for months, can be successfully managed if you know how to deal with them.

6. How fast should I decide upon a treatment?

Why is this question important?

You need to take into account your doctor’s recommendation but, at the same time, you need to gather together information about prostate cancer treatments from other reliable sources in order to take an informed decision. Nowadays, you have access to a huge mass of information regarding prostate cancer and it may become difficult to make up your mind. Based on the type and stage of your cancer, your doctor can tell you how fast you should take a decision regarding your chosen treatment.

7. How can I prepare for treatment?

Why is this question important?

There is a series of pre-testing you need to follow and this takes time. Also, the in-take of certain types of medication must be interrupted before the scheduled date of the treatment. Your diet is also of great significance and there are important factors you need to take into account.

Prepare for treatment

8. If I decide upon surgery, what are your post-operative instructions?

Why is this question important?

Recovery after surgery depends on how carefully you follow your doctor’s instructions. Learn more about what kind of movements you need to avoid, what vitamins and minerals you should take and what diet to follow. Also, until your catheter is removed, you are not allowed to drive, so make sure you will be assisted on your way back home.

9. After treatment, what are the chances of recurrent cancer?

Why is this question important?

All treatments aim to eliminate prostate cancer. Anyway, you need to be aware of the fact that there are situations when patients experience prostate cancer relapse. Ask your doctor about what tests you need to make in order to monitor your health after your first treatment. Because there are no significant symptoms associated with prostate cancer recurrence, only testing can give you insights on your condition.

10. What support services are available to me and my family?

Why is this question important?

The emotional distress you and your family may experience after your cancer diagnosis can affect your daily activities. Professional support services can provide the aid you need to succeed in your fight.

 

 

 

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