PCa is generally treated by three kinds of doctors: You probably saw a UROLOGIST first. If the diagnosis indicates that the cancer has not escaped the gland, it would be wise for you to see a RADIATION ONCOLOGIST for a second opinion. If the cancer has escaped the gland, a MEDICAL ONCOLOGIST might be the source of a second opinion. Some patients seek a medical oncologist for another opinion even though the cancer has not escaped the gland--seeking a "neutral," professional opinion. You're lucky to have found this source of information before you submitted to therapy. Even though you may be "anxious" to "get on with it", you can postpone treatment for a brief period until you have done your home work.
You need to know everything about each of these PCa treatment modalities:
- Radical Prostatectomy
- (a) Radiated Implants, permanent (often referred to as "seed implants", or "SI"), or
- (b) temporary, (often referred to as "high dose radiation", or HDR")
- Proton Beam Radiation
- External Beam Radiation (ordinary-somewhat obsolete)
- Three-Dimension Conformal Therapy,
- Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT)
- Neutron Radiation
- Combined Hormonal Therapy (CHT)-Lupron, Zoladex, Casodex- Most medical professionals do not consider CHT a cure, but an excellent temporary measure which may keep your PCa on hold.
- Chemo? or genetic therapy- limited, and highly experi- mental
- Alternative-Supplemental Treatments, such as: Acupuncture, nutritional and/or herbal supplements, Essiac & green teas, Positive Mental Attitude, Hyperthermia, meditation, visualization, spiritual healing groups, humor, and lots of prayer.
- Watchful Waiting
A number of therapists are experimenting with a variety of treatment combinations, especially CHT with other treatment modalities. This approach seems promising, but only time will tell.
We can help you learn more about this disease we call our hobby. The diagnosis of PCa is almost always accompanied by the FUD factor--FEAR, UNCERTAINTY and DOUBT ! You can get rid of the FUD factor by taking charge; learn all you can learn, so that YOU can decide which therapy YOU want.
A number of good PCa books have been published. PCa 101, Kingston has donated copies of many of these books to each of the public libraries in Ulster County . I have yet to find the "perfect" book. I suggest you read at least these two for a "more balanced" view: GUIDE TO SURVIVING PROSTATE CANCER by Patrick C. Walsh, M.D., and Janet Farrar Worthington and A NON-SURGICAL PERSPECTIVE by Dr. Kent Wallner.
THE PATIENT'S GUIDE TO PCa by Dr. Mark B. Garnick is a fast read. Other good books are by Drs. Joseph Oesterling, Sheldon Marks, and survivors, Don Kaltenbach and William Martin. There are many other books available-some you'll want to avoid--some include misinformation; others are scary enough to make you want to "take the pipe" rather than treatment.
After you've decided on the therapy of YOUR choice, you should seek the most skilled, experienced practitioner available. Most survivors agree that no matter what therapy YOU choose, you should do your homework and be assured that the contemplated practitioner has done several hundred successful procedures. A listing of medical respected professionals you may wish to consult with for 2 nd , 3 rd , or even more opinions is distributed at PCa 101 for your convenience.
Men who have E-Mail addresses will receive an E-Mail list of Prostate Cancer Resources on the Internet, as well as additional helpful files.
Don't waste a good opportunity to listen and ask questions when you're talking with a medical professional. Use a good tape recorder to take notes every time you meet with a doctor, so that both you and your spouse are not pre-occupied with note-taking. Participate in the discussion, and be sure you understand everything being said.
You'll be glad for the opportunity to review the consultation-probably several times-before you determine your treatment strategy. If, after listening to the tape at home, you are prompted to ask more questions, don't be bashful about calling the doctor and asking those questions.
You should also feel comfortable about calling anyone on the PCa 101, Kingston membership list, especially the person identified as your mentor.