Newly Diagnosed Cancer Patients: Questions To Ask Your Health Care Team
Patients and their families often come into The Learning Center, where I work as a librarian, to seek information. After interacting with people for many years â and from reviewing the large amount of information we have access to here âIâve come to understand what information newly diagnosed patients and their families need.
Some patients are anxious if they donât have enough information. Other people get stressed or feel overwhelmed by too much information.
No matter which type of cancer patient you are, asking your health care team the right questions about your disease and cancer treatment can play an important part in managing your care.
I recommend the following basic questions for newly diagnosed cancer patients. Answers to these questions may allow you to feel less overwhelmed and better able to manage your cancer journey.
Just be sure to think about what youâd like to know right now, and tell your doctor if you would like a little information or a lot.
- What type of cancer do I have? What is my exact diagnosis?
- Where is the cancer located? Has it spread?Â·
- What is my prognosis?
Gleason Score Vs Grade Groups
The International Society of Urological Pathology released a revised prostate cancer grading system in 2014. The grade group system seeks to simplify Gleason scores and give a more accurate diagnosis.
One of the major problems with the Gleason score is that some scores can be made up in different ways. For example, a score of 7 can mean:
- 3 + 4. The 3 pattern is the most common in the biopsy and 4 is the second most common. This pattern is considered favorable intermediate risk.
- 4 + 3. The 4 pattern is the most common in the biopsy and 3 is the second most common. This pattern is considered unfavorable and may mean local or metastatic spread.
So, although both situations give a Gleason score of 7, they actually have very different prognoses.
Heres an overview of how the two grading systems compare:
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Not all hospitals have switched to the grade group system. Many hospitals give both grade group and Gleason scores to avoid confusion until grade groups become more widely used.
Your Prostate: Five Questions Every Man Should Ask
Because prostate cancer often has no symptoms, it is important men know the basic facts about prostate cancer and how to detect it. Here are five important questions you should ask about prostate health.
Throughout November, you may notice a hair-raising trend among men: more beards and mustaches. Its all about raising awareness of prostate cancer. What you may not know is this trend has particular importance for men in Wisconsin, where prostate cancer is more common than any other type of cancer. Nationally, one in seven men develops prostate cancer. The good news is that if its detected early, there are more treatment options and better outcomes than if its found later, at an advanced stage. Because prostate cancer often has no symptoms, it is important men know the basic facts about prostate cancer and how to detect it.
Here are answers to five important questions about prostate health.
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Recognizing The Risk Factors
Does Prostate Cancer Have Any Symptoms
Most men with early prostate cancer dont have any signs or symptoms.
One reason for this is the way the cancer grows. Youll usually only get early symptoms if the cancer grows near the tube you urinate through and presses against it, changing the way you urinate . But because prostate cancer usually starts to grow in a different part of the prostate, early prostate cancer doesnt often press on the urethra and cause symptoms.
If you do notice changes in the way you urinate, this is more likely to be a sign of a very common non-cancerous problem called an enlarged prostate, or another health problem. But its still a good idea to get it checked out. Possible changes include:
- difficulty starting to urinate or emptying your bladder
- a weak flow when you urinate
- a feeling that your bladder hasnt emptied properly
- dribbling urine after you finish urinating
- needing to urinate more often than usual, especially at night
- a sudden need to urinate you may sometimes leak urine before you get to the toilet.
If prostate cancer breaks out of the prostate or spreads to other parts of the body , it can cause other symptoms, including:
- back pain, hip pain or pelvis pain
- problems getting or keeping an erection
- unexplained weight loss.
These symptoms can all be caused by other health problems. But its still a good idea to tell your GP about any symptoms so they can find out whats causing them and make sure you get the right treatment, if you need it.
Psa Tests And Screening
Testing for cancer when you have no symptoms is called screening. There is no national screening programme in Ireland, as theres little evidence that screening would reduce deaths from prostate cancer. It also could mean men having unnecessary treatment for very slow-growing prostate cancer, which could cause side-effects that affect their lives more than the cancer would.
If youre worried
Talk to your GP about:
- Your risk of prostate cancer eg if you have close family members with prostate cancer
- The pros and cons of prostate cancer screening
- What the tests involve
- The decisions you might have to make if your PSA was raised
- How these decisions might affect your life. Eg having treatment and getting side-effects
Should I use a home PSA test kit?
Prostate problems are best diagnosed by your GP, who can take your medical history and carry out a physical examination, as well as doing the PSA test.
Remember – your PSA level can be raised for other reasons it doesnt mean you have prostate cancer. Its also possible to have cancer and a normal PSA level. Read more about understanding PSA test results.
Diagnosing prostate cancer
Your family doctor will talk to you about your symptoms. He or she may do some tests. For example:
Digital rectal examination Inserting a gloved finger into your back passage to see if your prostate feels normal. It can be a little uncomfortable but it doesnt take long.
Advanced Prostate Cancer Symptoms
Men with advanced prostate cancer may experience additional symptoms. Thats because the cancer has spread from the prostate to other parts of the body, such as the bones or lymph nodes.
Signs of metastatic prostate cancer may include:
- Swelling in legs or pelvic area
- Numbness or pain in the hips, legs or feet
- Bone pain that persists or leads to fractures
A wide range of treatment options are available for managing advanced cancer. These treatments kill cancer cells, but they may also help patients manage pain.
Prostate cancer treatment: The care you need is one call away
Your multidisciplinary team will work with you to develop a personalized plan to treat your prostate cancer in a way that fits your individual needs and goals.
Also Check: What Are The First Signs Of Prostate Cancer
What Are 5 Common Warning Signs Of Prostate Cancer
In many cases, prostate cancer does not produce clear symptoms in its initial stages of development. In fact, many men may have prostate cancer without even realizing it. However, there are some common warning signs that could indicate a person has prostate cancer. Five of the most common ones include:
Of course, these five symptoms are not the only potential warning signs of prostate cancer. Other possible indicators could include weak urine flow, and unexplained pain deep in the groin area when sitting down. If cancer has spread beyond the prostate, a man may also suffer lower body swelling, abnormal urinary or bowel habits, or inexplicable weight loss.
It’s important to note that most of these symptoms are not unique to prostate cancer, and may indicate a different condition that is not life-threatening.
How Prostate Cancer Is Diagnosed
Tests and investigations to diagnose prostate cancer include digital rectal examination and blood tests by your GP which will be repeated again if you are referred to a urologist . A rectal scan and a biopsy of the prostate may be necessary.
You can read more about the PSA test here.
You can read more about other tests for prostate cancer here.
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Psa Screening Blood Test
The American Cancer Society reports that men with a total PSA level of between 4 and 10 have roughly a 1 in 4 chance of having prostate cancer. With a total PSA of over 10, the chance of having prostate cancer rises to over 50%. Following the PSA test, if the levels are high, a doctor may suggest a repeat screening test or a prostate biopsy.
In addition to prostate cancer, there are many other factors that can affect a mans PSA levels.
Reasons for a High PSA:
- Enlarged prostate: An enlarged prostate can be caused by conditions like BPH, or benign prostatic hyperplasia, which is a non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate.
- Age: As men get older, its normal for PSA levels to slowly rise .
- Prostatitis: Infection or inflammation of the prostate gland, known as prostatitis, can also raise PSA levels.
- Bicycle Riding: Because the bicycle seat puts pressure on the prostate, some studies have shown that cycling may cause PSA levels to rise.
- Urologic procedures: Some urologic procedures can lead to higher PSA levels for a small period of time. Some studies have also shown that a digital rectal exam might also raise these levels.
- Medicines: Certain medicine, like testosterone or other medicines that raise testosterone levels, might cause a rise in PSA.
Reasons for a Low PSA:
Why Do Women Not Get Prostate Cancer
Why do women not get prostate cancer? The incidence of prostate cancer is second only to lung cancer? Women also have prostate, Why is it only in men?
The prostate is the largest accessory gonad in men, the teacher in the anatomy class had told you that although women also have prostates, but womens prostates have degenerated and do not have any function, let alone pathological changes.
Early screening can get the best treatment time. Screening items include: digital rectal examination, serum PSA examination .
There may be many people who think that cancer is caused by bad luck, and more people are also saying that once they get cancer, they can only wait to die, because not only can they not afford the expensive treatment costs, but also because the cancer itself is fatal. of.
But in fact, many cancers can be detected at an early stage and active treatment can not only prolong life, but also save a lot of costs in treatment.
In recent years, prostate diseases have endangered mens health, and many men have missed the opportunity for treatment because it is difficult to tell.
According to 2020, there will be 10.07 million new cancer cases in men worldwide. In addition to the high incidence of lung cancer in men, prostate cancer is the second most common cancer case.
Prostate cancer is the second largest male tumor in the world. According to statistics, there will be 1.41 million new cases of prostate cancer worldwide and 380,000 deaths in 2020.
Favorite Apps Products And Gadgets
With a simple tap, youll receive information about personalized prostate cancer treatment options to help manage your care. This free app includes questions to ask your doc, calendars to keep track of your appointments, and videos that highlight helpful resources. Downloading it is a great way to stay on top of your cancer!
What About Other Treatments I Hear About
When you have cancer you might hear about other ways to treat the cancer or treat your symptoms. These may not always be standard medical treatments. These treatments may be vitamins, herbs, special diets, and other things. You may wonder about these treatments.
Some of these are known to help, but many have not been tested. Some have been shown not to help. A few have even been found to be harmful. Talk to your doctor about anything youre thinking about using, whether its a vitamin, a diet, or anything else.
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Lower Your Risk For Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer is a serious disease, but early detection is key. Talk to your doctor about your risk factors and when or if you should be screened for prostate cancer sometimes as early as age 40, if youre considered high risk.
Theres no way to eliminate the risk of getting prostate cancer, Dr. Weight says, but if youre at a higher risk for developing the disease, there are steps you can take to lower your risk.
- Get regular prostate screenings.
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Early Stage Prostate Cancer
If the cancer is small and localized, a doctor may recommend:
Watchful waiting or monitoring
The doctor may check PSA blood levels regularly but take no immediate action. Prostate cancer grows slowly, and the risk of treatment side effects may outweigh the need for immediate treatment.
A surgeon may carry out a radical prostatectomy to remove the tumor. In addition to removing the prostate, the procedure may also involve the removal of the surrounding tissue, seminal vesicles, and nearby lymph nodes. A doctor can perform this procedure using either open, laparoscopic, or robot-assisted laparoscopic surgery.
This uses radiation to kill cancer cells or prevent them from growing. Options for early stage prostate cancer may include :
External radiation therapy: This method uses a machine outside the body to send radiation toward the cancer cells. Conformal radiation therapy is a type of external radiation that uses a computer to help guide and target a specific area, minimizing the risk to healthy tissue and allowing a high dose of radiation to reach the prostate tumor.
Internal radiation therapy: Also known as brachytherapy, this method uses radioactive seeds that a doctor implants near the prostate. A surgeon uses imaging scans, such as ultrasound or computed tomography to help guide the placement of the radioactive substance.
Treatment will depend on various factors. A doctor will discuss the best option for the individual.
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How Is Prostate Cancer Treated
Treatment options for prostate cancer depend on several factors:
- whether the cancer is high risk
- the stage of the cancer whether it is only found in the prostate or has it spread to elsewhere in the body?
- the PSA level and how fast it might be changing
- age and general health
Your doctor will recommend one or more of the following options if you have prostate cancer:
Psa Elevation From Large Prostate Glands
Big prostate glands produce more PSA than small prostate glands. The best way to measure the size of the prostate is by using a scan. Finding an oversized gland can be good news, providing a benign and reassuring explanation for why the PSA is high.
Until recently, the only way to sort through all these possibilities of PSA elevation was to puncture the prostate 12 times with a needle biopsy to remove tissue cores for evaluation under the microscope. Due to an inordinate fear of missing cancer, many doctors recommended random biopsy anytime the PSA was slightly elevated. One million men are biopsied in the United States every year. This aggressive behavior was perhaps justified when biopsy was the only way to find cancer.
We now know, however, that scans using multi-parametric magnetic resonance imaging are more accurate than a needle biopsy. The beauty of using a scan is that only men who have a suspicious abnormality detected by MRI need to undergo a biopsy. And importantly, the biopsy can be targeted. Only one or two cores are required. No more fishing through the rest of the gland with random needle sticks! Men with clear scans can avoid a biopsy altogether. Changing the policy from random biopsy to MP-MRI would solve the problem of over-diagnosis in men with high PSA.
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