Discussion and Questions to Explore for the Prostate Cancer Patient

Very often, because of social stigma and lack of information, many men embark unto an uncharted journey through prostate cancer therapies without the tools and information they need to truly make the educated and best choices for their individual health care needs.  Here are some facts and basics you and/or the man in your life need to know to obtain the best health care.

There are three key health care professionals who may be involved in the care of a patient with prostate cancer:

Urologists are commonly the specialists that diagnose prostate cancer.  The diagnosis is made after a prostate biopsy.  The urologist commonly performs surgery to remove the cancerous prostate, based on the stage of the cancer and other pertinent factors.  Hormone therapy for patients that have recurring cancer following local treatment or are diagnosed with advanced disease may be prescribed.

Questions to ask the Urologist:  How do you feel the current treatment is working?  What is your prognosis?  What is the likelihood of recurrence?  What tests will be necessary to search for metastases?  What is the frequency of testing to ensure there are no other recurrences?  What are all the treatment options and their benefits?  What other professionals should be consulted and brought into a ‘treatment team’?

Radiation Oncologists administer radiation treatments to treat both localized as well as recurrent disease.

Questions to ask the Radiation Oncologist:  What is radiation therapy and how long is treatment?  How successful is treatment for my type of cancer and what is the success rate of this treatment specific to my case?  What are the risks and benefits of treatment?

Medical Oncologists treat cancer with combination or ‘cocktail’ drug therapies known as chemotherapy.  This approach is used to treat patients who become resistant to alternative treatments (re:  hormonal therapy).  Unfortunately, many men with prostate cancer often do not seek the advice of a medical oncologist until their cancer has progressed.  This can lead to smaller odds of beating the cancer.

Questions to ask the Medical Oncologist:  What is chemotherapy and is this the correct method of treatment for my type and stage of prostate cancer?  What is the typical success rate for my type of cancer and what are the risks and benefits of this method of treatment?

Men and their loved ones involved in their healing process should feel comfortable speaking with their healthcare professionals and seek out new specialists to ensure that they are well-informed of all the treatment options.  Each specialist plays a crucial role in treating prostate cancer; forming a team and pooling their various expertise is crucial to ensuring effective and expedient treatment.  Emotional, psychological and physical support for your loved one is just as important as researching and doing all you can to obtain the best possible treatment for him.

The team you put together must fulfill the following requirements: 

  • Provide you with information on the latest treatment options available.
  • Support and accept that you will consult other resources and healthcare options.
  • Open the conversation to consider participation in clinical trials to explore all possible treatment options.
  • Ensure you have all the information you and your loved ones require to battle the disease.

For the family and friends of the patient, remember that this can be a most frightening period of life for a man and the psychological, physical and emotional impact can be long-lasting.  Be patient, kind, loving and supportive in every way you can.  Have compassion.  All of us have the opportunity to make a difference in another person’s life.  In turn, we become better humans.

State of the Prostate

Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy (BPH) refers to the enlargement of the prostate gland as a man ages.  In BPH, as the prostate enlarges, the surrounding tissue inhibits it from expanding.  This causes the prostate gland to press against the urethra.  Symptoms commonly seen with BPH are:

  • hesitant, interrupted, and/or weak flow of urine
  • urinary urgency and/or dribbling
  • nocturnal frequent urination.

Ignoring these symptoms can lead to more serious medical conditions such as prostate cancer, urine retention, urinary tract infections, bladder or kidney damage, bladder stones and incontinence.

Traditional Chinese Medicine Can Treat These Male Health Issues:  premature ejaculation, low sperm count, diminished sperm motility, impotence, hernias, testicular pain, prostatitis, benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH), male infertility, male climacteric disorder (andropause).  To find out more information, please contact our office.

References:  The World Health Organization “A Brief History of Qi”, by Zhang Yu Huan and Ken Rose-Paradigm Publications, Brookline, Mass, 2001, “Practical Therapeutics of Traditional Chinese Medicine” – by Yan Wu and Warren Fischer, Paradigm Publications, Brookline, Mass, 1997, “A Handbook of TCM Urology and Male Sexual Dyfunction”, – by Anna Lin, Blue Poppy Press, Inc., Boulder, CO, 1999

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