When it comes to making a prostate cancer treatment decision, the good news is that there are many options available to patients. On the contrary, the choice may become more difficult with more options to weigh and consider. For those with low or intermediate risk prostate cancer, the most common options are watchful waiting, radiation, surgery, or minimally invasive procedures like laser focal therapy or transurethral ultrasound therapy (TULSA-Pro). Each option is associated with its own benefits and risks. 85% of men facing this decision report having a tough time choosing a treatment option.1 To make the decision easier, it’s important to understand your options, define your priorities and goals, and do your research.
1. Understand Your Options
Your doctor will explain your treatment options to you and some of the pros and cons of each one. This is the time to come prepared with questions to make sure you understand the medical information being provided. Some questions include:
- What is the risk of my prostate cancer progressing?
- Is this procedure an inpatient or outpatient procedure?
- What does recovery look like?
- What are the side effects?
- What minimally invasive options are available for me?
- Will I be able to continue my hobbies and my level of activity after this treatment?
The answers will vary depending on the treatment but taking the time to understand your doctor’s recommendation and what it means for your life will help you make a decision.
2. Define Your Priorities
Every person has different goals for their treatment and it is important to communicate them. Some people may want to avoid medical intervention for their slow-growing cancer and prefer active surveillance. Others may find that watchful waiting increases their anxiety and instead prefer to undergo laser focal therapy to destroy their localized cancer. Others may prefer more aggressive treatment options. Certain side effects are more common with some treatments than others, so understanding the risks can help you determine your tolerance for potential complications.
3. Do Your Research
Knowledge is power when it comes to making an informed treatment decision. After speaking with your doctor, you may want to do additional research. Some patients may want to look at clinical trial data related to their preferred treatment option. Others may want to look at statistics about their type of cancer. Many patients want to hear from others like them who have been through a treatment to learn about their experience.1 Each of these steps can empower you to make a decision.
It is important to exercise caution when doing research, especially on the internet. Identifying credible and reliable sources like the American Urological Association, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the Mayo Clinic, and other established organizations is your best bet for medically accurate and up-to-date information. To learn more about focal therapy, we suggest visiting the following sites:
For learning about others’ real-life experiences, support groups and online forums can be helpful. ProstateCancer.net is one website that shares patients’ stories living with prostate cancer. The American Cancer Society also has a Cancer Survivors Network with pages dedicated to prostate cancer and all related topics.
HALO is Here to Help
Leaning on your support system when making treatment decisions can help alleviate any stress or pressure you are feeling during this time in your life. Your loved ones who know you best can be a helpful sounding board when discussing your thoughts, feelings, hopes, and fears around treatment. Additionally, HALO is here to help you through your prostate treatment journey. Contact us today for a cost-free consultation with experienced prostate care professionals.