Some cancers grow so slowly that treatment may not be needed at all. Others grow fast and are life-threatening so treatment is usually necessary. Deciding what treatment you should get can be complex. Talk with your healthcare team about your options. Your treatment plan will depend on:
- The stage and grade of the cancer (Gleason score and TNM stage)
- Your risk category (whether the cancer is low, intermediate or high risk)
- Your age and health
- Your preferences with respect to side effects, long-term effects and treatment goals
Results from other diagnostic tests will help your provider understand if the cancer can spread or recur (return) after treatment.
Before you decide what to do, you should consider how immediate and long-term side effects from treatment will affect your life, and what you're willing to tolerate. Also, you should consider that you may try different things over time.
If you have time before you start treatment, consider your range of options. Get a second opinion from different prostate cancer experts. You may need to see another urologist, oncologist or radiation oncologist. Consider the expertise of your doctor before you begin. With more experienced surgeons, the risk of permanent side effects (like incontinence) is lower. Also, it helps to talk with other survivors and learn from their experiences.
In addition, try and get or stay healthy. Eating a well-balanced diet, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising and not smoking are all important factors when fighting prostate cancer..
Moreover, don't ignore your emotions. Think about how you're coping with this diagnosis. Many men who have prostate cancer feel worried, stressed and angry. You and those that care about you may need to consider professional counseling.
Treatment choices for prostate cancer include: