Tips for Managing Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men other than skin cancer. The American Cancer Society estimates 1 in 7 men will have prostate cancer detected during their lifetime. The disease can strike any man at any time; men who are over the age of 60, have a family history of prostate cancer, are African-Americans, or were exposed to Agent Orange have an increased risk for diagnosis.
“Hearing the words ‘you have prostate cancer’ can be devastating and the treatment options overwhelming. Men need to learn about and fully evaluate their options with their treatment team,” says Jamie Bearse, CEO of ZERO – The End of Prostate Cancer. “Our organization provides an extensive number of tools men and their loved ones can use to help them understand what a diagnosis means and navigate the treatment journey, including website content covering screening to survivorship and our case management patient support and navigation program, ZERO360.”
Many people find it helpful to bring someone with them to their doctor appointments to take notes or record the session. It can be difficult to focus during conversations about the diagnosis, so having caring partners in the room can be advantageous when later trying to recall.
Tips to consider for managing prostate cancer:
P: Prepare a list of questions for your doctor. Anything and everything is okay to ask.
R: Reach out to others and learn from their experiences.
O: Outline a schedule to stay on top of your treatments.
S: Share your news with family and friends. Don’t go it alone.
T: Take time to process the news, then act.
A: Act as your own advocate throughout your treatment process.
T: Tap into activities that will help you to maintain a positive outlook.
E: Explore treatment options and act now. Innovations in care have changed the way prostate cancer is managed.
Prostate cancer treatment options include surgery, radiation therapy, hormone therapy, chemotherapy or active monitoring. Each man should consult his physician regarding his specific diagnosis and treatment options. Among the considerations that a doctor will factor into a treatment recommendation is the man’s prostate cancer classification, often referred to as his “risk” profile. One of the more innovative radiation treatments is stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT), which the American Society for Radiation Oncology supports as an option for low- to intermediate-risk prostate cancer.
SBRT is a radiation treatment that combines a high degree of targeting accuracy with very high doses of extremely precise, externally delivered radiation, thereby maximizing the cell-killing effect on the tumor while sparing healthy surrounding tissue. Prostate SBRT is generally five treatments delivered over one or two weeks.