Prostate Cancer - Treatment Overview
Coping with cancer
A cancer diagnosis can change your life. You may feel like your world has turned upside down and you have lost all control. Talking with family, friends, or a counselor can really help. Ask your doctor about support groups. Or call the American Cancer Society (1-800-227-2345) or visit the website at www.cancer.org.
After surgery or radiation
If you choose surgery or
radiation to treat your
prostate cancer, it will be important to have regular
checkups. If your cancer comes back, this will help your doctor find it early.
If you choose active surveillance
If you decide on active surveillance, you will have regular checkups and tests, including prostate biopsies. It is possible that a curable cancer could spread
and become incurable during a 6-month period, but this isn't common. If there
is no change in your condition, you may continue active surveillance. If tests show that your
cancer is growing, it may be time to start other treatment.
- Age isn't a reason to avoid surgery. But if you are 70 or
older, other medical conditions, such as
heart disease, may affect your decision. Men who are
older also have a higher rate of incontinence and impotence after surgery. Age
is especially important to think about if you have early-stage cancer, which
generally grows slowly.
- Get a second or even a third opinion
before making your treatment decisions. You may hear differing advice or
opinions, which may seem confusing. But talking with other doctors can help you
make your decision. If your doctor is a medical oncologist, you may want to
talk with other prostate cancer specialists, such as a urologist, a radiation
or urologic oncologist, or a surgeon.
- Studies show that fewer side effects are
reported at large medical centers, where the surgeons do prostatectomies more
often and so are more experienced and skilled.3