Total Shock. The physician's announcement telling you that the diagnosis was positive for prostate cancer probably hit you like a proverbial ton of bricks. Chances are the shock was just as hard whether it came totally unexpectedly, or after extensive testing and biopsies.
At that moment, you likely could not think clearly and absorb any details from the physician. Do some homework now. You can read pertinent books and look up information on the internet. (Access to the internet is available at the public library for persons who do not have a connection at home or at work; they could possibly also do internet research at a friend's place.) You will learn the meaning of relevant medical terms, and get to understand some of the options that could be available. And you will read about the potential side effects and problems related to the various procedures.
The Resources page at left will provide the addresses for many useful web sites. The resource list starts with the Prostate Cancer Canada Network home page. On that site you can find some questions that may assist you in your conversations with physicians. Another site listed was written by a PCCN - Thunder Bay member and gives a detailed account of his experiences from diagnosis through treatment, along with tips that helped him manage.
We're not trying to sugar coat this disease, it scared us too when we were diagnosed. But there really is hope, as can be told to you by the support group members.
Consider the following ideas:
-- keep a notebook and pen handy to write down your questions, and any answers you find;
-- telephone some of the volunteers on the Men To Talk To page on the left;
-- you will likely choose to speak first to folks that have had the same treatments being considered for your situation;
-- but then speak to some of the others also;
-- the conversations can be on the phone or you may prefer to meet at a coffee shop;
-- and make every effort to attend support group meetings, where you will hear guest speakers and get to talk with dozens of prostate cancer survivors;
-- spouses and friends and family are welcome to attend the group meetings;
-- your spouse or partner might like to speak with some of the ladies on the Women To Talk To page on the left, in order to discuss their experiences.
Were you wondering why this site features a picture of three happy-looking guys, that all had prostate cancer? At this moment you feel extremely unlucky at being diagnosed with prostate cancer. It may be hard to believe right now, but as you receive treatment your mood will gradually change to a much more positive outlook. You will be glad you were diagnosed, as only then could you do something about it.
Questions to Ask Your Doctor
You are going to have many questions. During your research into prostate cancer, including using books or the Resources web page at left, you will find more questions and hopefully some answers. We have put together a list of some basic questions you might want to ask your doctor. (You may have other questions -- be sure to write them down also.)
1. What tests were conducted? i.e.: Biopsy, PSA, Digital, other
2. Results of Tests
- Gleason Score
- Slow Growing or Aggressive
3. What are all my treatment options for this type of condition, which one would you recommend, and how effective are the results?
4. How serious is this condition considering my age?
5. Would changes to my lifestyle i.e. diet, exercise, medications, vitamins, and future plans help make a difference?
6. What are the side effects of the operation or treatment recommended?
7. How long will I be off work?
8. Could I have a referral as I would like to review other treatment options?
You can click here to download a handy copy of this question list in PDF format for printing.
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