The Initial Causes Questions To Ask Oncologist About Prostate Cancer
One of the first symptoms of prostate issues is pain or tenderness in the groin or lower back. This can be the result of a noncancerous condition called enlarged prostatic tissue, or it could be an infection of the bladder. In either case, its important to see a doctor as soon as possible. If youre suffering from prostate pain, you may want to consider reducing your caffeine intake.
Another symptom of a potentially enlarged prostate is difficulty starting a stream of urine, leaking, or dribbling. These symptoms are not serious, but theyre still alarming. Most men put up with an enlarged prostate for years before seeking medical attention, but they typically seek treatment as soon as they notice symptoms. Even if you dont have symptoms, its worth getting checked to determine if you have any prostate issues.
If you experience nightly bathroom runs, you may be experiencing an enlarged prostate. You may be having difficulty starting a stream of urine, or you may even be dribbling or leaking during the day. These problems arent life-threatening, but can become a nuisance. You should not ignore these signs and seek treatment as soon as you notice them. If you feel any of these symptoms, you should consult a doctor.
Should I Tell People About My Prostate Cancer
It could help. Once you are diagnosed, you should lean on your family for support for everything from the logistics of getting a doctors appointment to caring for you if you have surgery, Dr. Davis says. It is vitally important that you have the buy-in and support from family and friends. And while it might be difficult to ask for the things you need, be specific about how your loved ones can support you. This way theyre not guessing, and your needs dont go unmet.
What You Should Know About Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer is the second-most common type of cancer found in American men, after skin cancer. If you or a loved one is diagnosed with prostate cancer, one of the first things you can do is educate yourself about the disease and available treatment options.
What is prostate cancer?
Prostate cancer is cancer that occurs in a mans prostatethe walnut-size gland in the male reproductive system. It is located below the bladder in front of the rectum and surrounds the upper part of the urethra, the tube that empties urine from the bladder. The prostate helps regulate bladder control and produces the seminal fluid that nourishes and transports sperm.
How common is prostate cancer?
Thirteen out of every 100 men in America will get prostate cancer at some point in their lives, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . Out of those thirteen, two to three will die from prostate cancer. Age is the most common risk factor. As you age, the risk of developing prostate cancer continually increases.
What causes prostate cancer?
It isn’t yet known what specifically causes prostate cancer, but there are several risk factors for the disease, including age and ethnicity.
Is prostate cancer genetic?
What are symptoms or signs of prostate cancer?
When should I start testing for prostate cancer?
Which doctors are involved in diagnosing prostate cancer?
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Am I A Candidate For Surgery
Prostatectomy is the gold standard for men with prostate cancer whose life expectancy is greater than ten years and whose cancer is contained within the prostate and has not spread to the bone. Its also recommended for men in overall good health and for men under the age of 70.
This procedure involves removing the entire prostate gland. It is a complex operation that takes place in a densely packed part of the male anatomy, but its one that skilled surgeons do successfully every day. Its goal is to leave the patient cancer-free and restore his former lifestyle, which means sparing the nerves that control urinary and sexual function.
There are three different possible types of surgery with various pros and cons:
Open prostatectomy, is a more traditional surgical procedure in which an abdominal incision is made slightly below the navel. Depending on a mans PSA level, lymph nodes may be removed. This surgery will remove the cancerous tumor but a man will have limited activity for up to five or more weeks.
Laparoscopic prostatectomy is another minimally invasive procedure following the same principles as open surgery, but the surgeons hands never enter the body. Several small incisions are made and the prostate is removed by using special medical instruments. There is minimal blood loss, less pain, faster recovery, and a shorter hospital stay.
If I Have Questions About My Diagnosis Or Which Treatment Is Right For Me Who Should I Contact
If youre in the process of choosing the right prostate cancer treatment, our team can help. We offer a free booklet about prostate cancer treatment and you can also talk with a Prostate Nurse Patient Navigator who can answer questions and assist in scheduling a consultation with one of our radiation oncologists.
You should also feel comfortable talking to the urologist who gave you a diagnosis. If youre not getting answers, or theyre talking in a way thats not easy to understand, consider getting a second opinion.
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Questions To Ask Your Doctor When You Have Finished Treatment
When you have finished your cancer treatment, you will talk with your doctor about next steps and follow-up care. You may want to ask your doctor some of the following questions:
- How long will it take for me to get better and feel more like myself?
- What kind of care should I expect after my treatment?
- What long-term health issues can I expect as a result of my cancer and its treatment?
- What is the chance that my cancer will return?
- What symptoms should I tell you about?
- Who do I call if I develop these symptoms?
- What can I do to be as healthy as possible?
- Which doctor should I see for my follow-up care? How often?
- What tests do I need after treatment is over? How often will I have the tests?
- What records do I need to keep about my treatment?
- Is there a counselor I can talk to or an online or in-person support group you can suggest?
When Youre Told You Have Prostate Cancer
- What are the chances that the cancer has spread beyond my prostate? If so, is it still curable?
- Do I need any other tests before we decide on treatment?
- Should I see any other types of doctors before deciding on treatment?
- What is the clinical stage and grade of my cancer? What do those mean to me?
- If Im concerned about the costs and insurance coverage for my diagnosis and treatment, who can help me?
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Saving Money Time And Lives
We’re really fortunate to have had long-standing research investments yield really important new treatments like immunotherapy, Dr. Gopal said.
But newer treatments and tools are often quite expensive, and how to address the escalating cost of cancer treatmenteven in a high-income country like the United Statesis something that we are really wrestling with, he added.
For many people around the globe who don’t have the means to access the newest treatments, they are generally making do with less effective options, forgoing treatment altogether, and/or financially ruining themselves trying to receive care for their cancer, Dr. Gopal explained.
And although clinical trials often test multiple doses of a new cancer treatment, the goal is to find the highest dose that patients can tolerate because were assuming that the more drug that we can give, the more effective it’s likely to be, he noted.
But more and more, scientists and doctors are looking for ways to reduce the dose, frequency, and/or duration of cancer treatments without compromising their cancer-fighting effects.
Researchers hope that dose reductions could not just lower costs, but also lead to fewer side effects and reduced time burdens on patients and doctors, Dr. Gopal noted.
With lower doses and lower costs, many deaths could be prevented, they wrote.
Six Questions To Ask Your Doctor About Prostate Cancer Treatment
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If you are a man in a room with 99 other men, chances are 12 of you will be diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point in your lives. But the statistics also say that theres a good chance all 12 of you may still be alive five years after your diagnoses, thanks to increased awareness, early detection and advances in treatment.
Consider these National Cancer Institute statistics:
- The five-year survival rate for prostate cancer is nearly 98 percent, nearly 100 percent when the cancer is diagnosed at an early stage.
- The number of new prostate cancer cases has fallen from 234 per 100,000 men in 1992 to 108 in 2017.
- The number of prostate cancer deaths has fallen from 39 per 100,000 in 1992 to 19 in 2018.
More treatment options are now available for prostate cancer than ever before. And advances in surgery and radiation therapy, two of the most common treatments for the disease, are designed to produce fewer side effects and more positive outcomes.
Treatment for prostate cancer depends on many factors, including the stage, type and location of the disease. But with more treatment options come more questions. Here are the answers to six common questions about prostate cancer treatment:
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Why Isnt Prostate Screening Recommended For All Men
All screening tests have both risks and benefits. Here are some things to consider when deciding whether to get screened:
- Many prostate cancers grow so slowly that men won’t have symptoms or die from the cancer
- Treatment for prostate cancer can cause problems like erectile dysfunction or loss of bladder control
- Prostate screening sometimes says you have cancer when you really dont, and follow-up tests can cause problems like infections
Are There Any Lifestyle Changes I Should Make To Minimize My Risk Of Prostate Cancer
Once men reach a certain age, they may become more concerned about their overall health and their risk for certain conditions. Prostate cancer impacts 1 in 8 men at some point in their lifetime, and so you may be curious to learn if you can make lifestyle changes that may minimize your risk. Age is the number one risk factor for developing prostate cancer, which is out of our control. But there could be other things you can do to keep your risk lower even as you age. While researchers dont completely understand the correlation between diet and prostate cancer, some studies suggest that creating healthy eating habits may help. For instance, it is suggested to avoid large amounts of trans and saturated fats and more on healthy fats such as omega-3 fatty acids. Exercise may also reduce your risk of getting certain cancers. You should also tell your physician if anyone in your family was also diagnosed with prostate cancer.
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Questions To Ask Your Specialist
A prostate cancer diagnosis can leave you anxious and confused, likely with more questions than answers. Being prepared with questions and thoughts can help guide conversations with your specialist or doctor, help you make informed decisions about what to do next, and choose the best pathway for you.
Weve listed some of the most commonly asked questions below, which you will find in more detail in the Questions To Ask Your Specialist booklet which you can download and print. Just click on the image.
Here are our key questions to ask your specialist:
Questions To Ask Your Doctor
Asking questions of your doctor may help you make more informed decisions about your care. Open communication between a patient and his doctor is extremely important. Here are answers to some common questions prostate cancer patients should ask their doctors:
What is a prostate-specific antigen level?
PSA is a substance produced by both the healthy prostate and prostate cancer. A PSA test is used primarily to screen for prostate cancer. The levels of PSA in the blood may be higher in men who have prostate cancer or other conditions. A PSA test measures the amount of prostate-specific antigen in your blood. The PSA test may detect high levels of PSA that could indicate the presence of prostate cancer. However, many other conditions, such as an enlarged or inflamed prostate, may also increase PSA levels.
What is a Gleason score?
A Gleason Sum of seven may mean the cancer is likely to grow and spread at a modest pace. Some of these patients are candidates for active surveillance, while others should be treated immediately.
A Gleason Sum between eight and 10 may mean the cancer is likely to grow and spread aggressively. These patients are high risk and require immediate treatment.
How much experience do you have treating my type and stage of prostate cancer?
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Questions To Ask About Having Radiation Therapy
What type of treatment is recommended?
Where will the radiation be focused?
What is the goal of this treatment?
How long will it take to give this treatment?
What side effects can I expect during treatment?
Who should I contact about any side effects I experience? And how soon?
What are the possible long-term effects of having this treatment?
What can be done to relieve the side effects?
My Doctor Wants To Try What He Calls Watchful Waiting Is This Something You Recommend
Some men are candidates for active surveillance but for others, this is too risky, and they should be treated instead. I always discuss active surveillance as an option when consulting with any newly diagnosed prostate cancer patient, although I never recommend ignoring prostate cancer.
There is a system of grading prostate cancer tissue based on how it looks under a microscope. This is called the Gleason score, and the grading ranges from 2 to 10 to indicate how likely it is that a tumor will spread.
For someone with low-risk prostate cancer , I recommend active surveillance. However, if this patient has anxiety about his prostate cancer, he might want to go ahead and treat it, just so he can stop worrying. His chances for cure are greater than 90 percent. But again, for most men in this situation, active surveillance is fine.
If someone with similar tumor characteristics is only 60 years old, I tell him active surveillance may be fine for the time being, but he will most likely need treatment at some point. Since any curative treatment has the potential for at least some side effects, he might at least put off treatment for a few years before having to deal with them.
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What Are My Treatment Options
Prostate cancer is a slow-growing disease thats typically curable when discovered in the early stages, and treatable when its more advanced. Treating your prostate cancer will be unique to you and your overall health, as well as the stage of your cancer prognosis. Here are five treatment options to consider as you and your doctor begin choosing one that is best for you.
- Active surveillance: Because prostate cancer often grows very slowly, active surveillance involves observing the cancer without taking immediate action. If your condition worsens, your urologist will move forward with other treatment options.
- Radiation therapy: During this treatment, high levels of radiation are targeted at your prostate gland to burn and kill the cancerous cells. External radiation uses a machine outside the body to produce radiation, while internal radiation places radioactive implants directly into the tumor.
- Surgery: A surgical procedure treats your cancer by removing the prostate gland altogether. During surgery, your doctor will also check the surrounding lymph nodes close to your prostate to ensure the disease hasnt spread.
- Hormone therapy: This type of therapy works by decreasing the amount of testosterone that your body produces, which causes the cancer cells to die or grow more slowly.
- Chemotherapy: This treatment works by using chemicals to kill or halt the growth of cancer cells. During chemotherapy, drugs are either injected directly into the veins or taken orally.
What Are The Side Effects Of Radiation Treatments
As with surgery, you can have problems with urinary incontinence and with your ability to have an erection. You may not be able to have an erection for several months, and you may find that you are not urinating normally, as in the frequency or the strength of your stream, as you were before. Also, you may experience diarrhea, and you may feel fatigued until several weeks after your treatment ends. But these will be temporary and should correct themselves over time. If needed, talk to your doctor about medications that can help with erection problems in the meantime.
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A Radiation Oncologist Answers Treatment Questions About Prostate Cancer
Did you know that prostate cancer is the second-most common cancer in Oklahoma? A prostate cancer diagnosis can be devastating to men and their families.
September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. To help bring prostate cancer to the forefront as a serious health issue for Oklahomans, we collected questions about prostate cancer treatments and asked Gary Larson, M.D. to answer them. Dr. Larson has been practicing radiation oncology at INTEGRIS Health since 1990.