Prostate cancer questions to ask your doctor
To actively participate in your treatment process when diagnosed with a serious health condition like cancer, you need to have a good knowledge of the condition. And one way to get that knowledge is by asking your doctor questions about the things you do not understand or that bother you about the condition.
- Receiving a diagnosis of prostate cancer can make you and your loved ones feel anxious and overwhelmed.
- You may be confused with all the information out there on prostate cancer and have more questions than answers about your condition.
- Preparing your questions beforehand will help you discuss what bothers you with your doctor.
It is normal to be anxious or worried if you suspect you are at risk or are diagnosed with prostate cancer. Asking your doctor questions about your health condition and discussing your concerns is very important.
Going to your doctor prepared with your questions will help you understand your medical condition and help you make an informed decision on the treatment options. It prepares you physically and mentally to handle the condition, as you then know the risks and what to expect during treatment and afterwards.
Here are some questions you can ask your doctor regarding prostate cancer risk, screening, diagnoses and treatment.
Questions to ask about prostate cancer risk
- Since this cancer only affects men and not women, does it affect all men equally?
- Am I at a greater risk for prostate cancer if my father or any of my close family members had it?
- Does masturbation and being sexually active increase my risk of prostate cancer?
- Can my diet increase my risk of prostate cancer?
- Can drinking alcohol increase my risk of prostate cancer?
- Are there any lifestyle changes I need to make that can help prevent or reduce my risk of prostate cancer?
Questions to ask about prostate cancer screening
- At what age should I think about being screened for prostate cancer?
- Based on my medical and family history, how often should I be screened for prostate cancer?
- What are the risks and benefits of a prostate cancer screening test?
- What is a biopsy, and how is it done?
- What are the side effects or risks of a biopsy?
- If my biopsy shows some cancer cells, what does that mean?
Questions to ask after being diagnosed with prostate cancer
- What type of prostate cancer do I have?
- How large and aggressive is my prostate cancer?
- What stage is my cancer? - Is the cancer still inside the prostate, or has it spread to other organs in the body beyond the prostate?
- Are there any additional tests I need to undergo to fully understand the stage and aggressiveness of my cancer?
- Can it be treated?
- What is the likelihood that my cancer will progress if I don't get treatment?
Questions to Ask about prostate cancer treatment
- What are the different available treatment options?
- What are the benefits and drawbacks of each option?
- How long will each option last?
- Do I need to undergo any other test to determine the type of treatment I need?
- Which treatment option do you suggest I opt for, and why?
- What do we plan to achieve with the treatment? - Is it to cure the cancer, help alleviate the symptoms so I can feel better, or both?
- How effective is the option?
- How long will this treatment last, and how will it affect my day-to-day activities?
- Will I need to stay in the hospital to receive treatment? Or will I undergo the treatment as an outpatient?
- What are the short-term and long-term side effects of this treatment?
- Are the side effects treatable or permanent?
- How will I manage the side effects I will experience during the treatment?
- What symptoms or side effects should I immediately inform you about?
- During this treatment, do I need to change what I eat?
- How will we know if the treatment is effective and working?
- If this option doesn't work, what next?
- How long do I have to make a decision about the treatment?
- If I am on active surveillance, how will I know if my cancer is spreading?
Questions to ask about prostate cancer outcome/life expectancy
- Can prostate cancer affect my erection and sex life?
- What other health problems can prostate cancer cause, and how can they be managed?
- What should I expect if my cancer continues to progress instead of being cured?
- Is my cancer likely to come back after being treated? And what happens if it does?
- How long do I have left to live?
- What should I expect in my final days?
Questions to ask about advanced/late-stage prostate cancer
- What are the health problems caused by advanced prostate cancer?
- Which other part of my body has the cancer metastasized (spread) to?
- Is my cancer still curable at this stage, and what is my chance of survival?
- What treatments are available to help me manage my pain and relieve my symptoms?
- Will I need any form of special assistance from my family and loved ones during this treatment?
Questions to ask about follow-up care
- Who will be in charge of or who should I contact for my follow-up care?
- What type of follow-up will I need after I complete my treatment?
- What are the chances that the cancer will reoccur?
- What specific symptoms should I look out for or report immediately?
- Which follow-up tests do I require, and how frequently will I need to come for the test?
- Are there any limits on what I can do during and after the treatment?
- Are there any specific exercises or a special diet I need to follow after treatment?
Questions to ask about how to improve prostate health naturally
- What lifestyle factors can help keep my prostate healthy?
- Can a plant-based diet lower my risk of prostate cancer?
- What can I eat to improve my prostate health and reduce my risk of developing prostate cancer?
- Are there any supplements I need to take to improve my prostate health?
- Aside from eating healthy, are there any specific exercises that can help promote my prostate health?
What to know about prostate cancer - What is prostate cancer?
Prostate cancer develops in the prostate, a gland in the male reproductive organ that helps to produce seminal fluid. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), everyone with a prostate is at risk of prostate cancer. It is the fourth most commonly diagnosed cancer and the leading cause of cancer death among males.
Although the specific cause of prostate cancer is unknown, the most common risk factors are age, family history, and ethnicity.
Most times, prostate cancer grows slowly with little or no signs or symptoms and may take longer to spread to other organs and parts of the body. However, there are cases where the cancer may be aggressive and will require urgent treatment.
The survival of prostate cancer depends on the type and stage of the cancer. The chances of successfully treating prostate cancer are higher if it is detected and diagnosed earlier.
Detection of prostate cancer involves undergoing a screening test. The test result will determine if you will need to undergo more tests to confirm if you have prostate cancer and the type and grade of prostate cancer. The results of the tests will also help your healthcare team determine the best treatment option for you.
It is important that you trust and listen to your doctor's advice and recommendations. Still, you should understand that you are responsible for making the final decision about your health.
Making decisions about the best treatment option can be overwhelming if you do not understand your diagnosis and treatment options. To make the decision-making process easier for you, do not hesitate to talk to your doctor and ask important questions about your condition.