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Personal stories about having a prostatectomy or radiation therapy for localized prostate cancer

These stories are based on information gathered from health professionals and consumers. They may be helpful as you make important health decisions.

Sam, age 50: My doctor told me I have prostate cancer. After I got over the shock, we talked about my treatment choices. My doctor told me the cancer is small, so I have taken a year to think about it. I could have surgery to remove my prostate or use radiation to try to kill the cancer. Except for this cancer, I am in good health and hope to live a good long while, so I have decided on a radical prostatectomy. I realize the surgery may cause problems with holding my urine or getting an erection, but I do not like the idea of cancer slowly growing in my prostate. I want to get rid of it and not just try to kill it with radiation.

Mark, age 57: My doctor told me after my last checkup that I have prostate cancer. I did some reading and talked with my doctor about the best way to treat it. He said the cancer is pretty small and slow-growing, so I have lots of options available: watchful waiting, radical prostatectomy, or radiation therapy. Both my reading and my doctor suggested that there was not a lot of difference in outcomes between these choices. I want to do more than watchful waiting, but the high probability of urinary and erection problems from the surgery bother me. I'm choosing to use radiation therapy. We are also talking about using hormone therapy to try to increase the effectiveness of the treatment.

David, age 62: I really was not all that surprised when my doctor told me I had prostate cancer. My father had prostate cancer, too. My doctor told me there were several treatment options available but that there is not a lot of difference in the results of the various treatments. Since I have a family history, I feel that I need to be as aggressive as possible in my treatment of the cancer. For me, that means having the radical prostatectomy.

Steven, age 72: Lots of men get prostate cancer as they get older. I guess that makes me a statistic. My doctor told me there are several different ways to treat my cancer. I want to do something, but at my age I'm not keen on having surgery. I also thought about my age and how long most men live after being diagnosed with prostate cancer. For me, choosing radiation therapy is the best balance between doing something and not doing too much.

Author Bets Davis, MFA
Editor Maria Essig
Editor Susan Van Houten, RN, BSN, MBA
Associate Editor Pat Truman, MATC
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Christopher G. Wood, MD, FACS - Urology/Oncology
Last Updated June 27, 2008

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: June 27, 2008
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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