PROSTATE Cancer

In developing a plan for treating prostate cancer, you and your doctor may have many choices to make. It is important for you to have as much information as possible about the treatment and the potential side effects, so that you can balance treating the cancer with maintaining your quality of life. Because prostate cancer treatment can cause side effects that can impact sexual functioning, it becomes particularly important for you to discuss these factors with your physician, and, if you have one, your partner (see next section). We suggest you view your relationship with your doctor as an equal partnership; he or she has information about the treatments for your particular stage, and you have information about yourself, what you can tolerate and what your goals are. Here are some suggestions that may help in making treatment decisions:

* Get as much information as you can about both standard treatments and other options for treating prostate cancer at your stage of diagnosis.

* Understand the side effects of all the treatment options.

* Talk to an oncologist who has considerable experience treating patients with prostate cancer. Seeking second opinions (or even third ones) can be useful.

* Try to find other patients who have had to make similar decisions. You can do this through a support group, by contacting a general or prostate-specific cancer organization (see Resources section) or by asking your doctor to connect you with a fellow patient.

* Be knowledgeable about your particular situation, meaning your stage, general physical condition, and your goals for treatment and quality of life.

For a detailed list of suggested questions you may want to ask about test results, your prostate cancer diagnosis or treatment, click here or here.