Diagnosis of prostate cancer? 5 things to remember
You just received a diagnosis of prostate cancer? From the outset, it is important to understand three principles. First, making the right diagnosis is fundamental to choosing the best treatment. Second, prostate cancer usually grows quite slowly - delaying treatment for one, two or three months will not necessarily change your prognosis. Even so, some cancers grow rapidly, leading to an aggressive cancer diagnosis. Third, your urologist has an essential and central role: to understand the big picture in order to offer the best treatment option as soon as possible.
Here are 5 points to remember following a diagnosis
- The best remedy for anxiety from such a diagnosis is information.
The more you are informed about the disease, treatment options, side effects, the easier it will be for your urologist to guide you in your treatment choice. Be aware that prostate cancer can be classified according to the risk of progression or recurrence - low risk, intermediate risk, or high risk of progression. For example, your doctor may suggest more aggressive treatment if your risk of recurrence is high. Conversely, he could offer you active monitoring if your risk of progression is low. With that said, make sure you take the time to think about what is right for you and gather all the information you need.
- Surgery or radiation therapy?
When cancer is confined to the prostate, treatment options can become a headache… Not a candidate for active surveillance? In most cases, radical surgery or radiation therapy is quite effective for tumours that do not extend beyond the prostate. Indeed, cure rates are very high in the first five to ten years after treatment. Several studies show that after one year, the quality of life is comparable for the two treatments (considering side effects and complications). After 10 years, recurrences seem to be less common for men who opted for radical prostatectomy.
- Your age, an important factor in your choice of treatment
In the case of relatively young men (50-60 years old), doctors usually recommend quick and forceful intervention to get rid of the disease as quickly as possible and to prevent the cancer from progressing over the years. Radical surgery makes it possible to turn to radiotherapy in the event of a recurrence (salvage treatment), which radiotherapy does not allow. Since the risk of local recurrence is higher in younger patients, as their follow-up is longer, this is a disadvantage of radiotherapy that should be kept in mind.
- Understanding the side effects of treatments
Treatment of cancer localized to your prostate can affect your urinary tract, erectile, or bowel function. These side effects are caused by the proximity of your erectile nerves, your bladder - and the fact that your prostate surrounds your urethra, the channel that passes your urine - and your rectum. They vary from person to person depending on the degree of illness, age and state of health. The good news is that there are many strategies that can help you manage them. Do not hesitate to talk to your doctor.
- You need to invest time and effort in your recovery
Regardless of the treatment chosen, you will need to get involved and work with your urologist, radiation oncologist, nutritionist, or physiotherapist to recover your continence, your erections, and manage your urinary or intestinal problems. All of this requires patience, perseverance and resilience. In other words, to participate in a marathon, you first have to jog and train.
Take the time to visit each of our pages on this website, as well as our YouTube channel, in order to get familiar with the disease with our expert lectures, our section on available resources, the support that is offered to you.
Do you have any questions or concerns? Above all, do not hesitate. Contact us at 1 855 899-2873 to discuss with a nurse specializing in uro-oncology. It's simple and free, like all our services.
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