Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Font Size

Prostate Cancer Questions to Ask Your Doctor -- and Yourself


What are the risks and benefits of my treatment options?

Prostate cancer can be treated in a variety of ways, including surgery, radiation, and medication. Even within these categories, researchers have developed a variety of techniques, including three different ways to perform surgery, two approaches to radiation therapy, and several drugs that suppress prostate cancer. “With so many choices, doctors can tailor treatment better than ever before,” says Howard I. Scher, MD, chief of genitourinary oncology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Medical Center. But the range of treatments also means doctors and patients must weigh many factors. That’s why it’s crucial to talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of all your options.

What about practical considerations of treatment?

Risks and benefits aren’t the only criteria for evaluating treatment options. There are also practical factors. Consider the choice of radiation therapy. One approach, called external beam radiation, requires going in for short treatments five days a week for 8 to 9 weeks of treatment. Radioactive seeds, by comparison, can be implanted in a simple surgical procedure that takes less than two hours. Some men would rather avoid surgery and opt for external radiation; others prefer the convenience of having radioactive seeds implanted during a single clinic visit. Talk to your doctor about what how each therapy is performed before you make your decision.

If I opt for watchful waiting, how often will I need to be monitored?

Active surveillance, also called “watchful waiting,” involves careful observation to detect any change in the cancer that would indicate it is progressing and requires more active treatment. Watchful waiting usually includes PSA tests every few months, periodic imaging studies, and repeat prostate biopsies.

Should I get a second opinion from a doctor who specializes in another approach?

Doctors who treat prostate cancer often specialize in a particular treatment approach, which inevitably influences what they recommend. A doctor who specializes in radiation oncology, for example, is likely to recommend radiation. A surgical oncologist will feel most comfortable recommending surgery. To get an unbiased view of all of your options, consider getting a second and even a third opinion before deciding on your treatment. If your doctor discourages you from getting another opinion, find another doctor.

Today on WebMD

man with doctor
Symptoms, risks, treatments
man coughing
Men shouldn’t ignore
prostate cancer cells
What does this diagnosis mean?
doctor and male patient
Is it worth it?
cancer fighting foods
15 Cancer Symptoms Men Ignore
Prostate Enlarged
Picture Of The Prostate
Prostate Cancer Quiz
screening tests for men
Prostate Cancer Symptoms
Vitamin D