You Have Options. Treatment is Not “One Size Fits All.”

Being diagnosed with prostate cancer can be overwhelming. At this stage in your journey, it’s important to understand what your specific diagnosis and how it informs what treatment may be best for you.

To begin, not all prostate cancers act in the same way. Some are high risk and likely to grow or spread, but many are not aggressive and are considered lower risk.

That’s why prostate cancer treatment is not “one size fits all”— what is best for one man may not be right for another. You should learn as much as possible about the many available treatment options, and with help from your doctors and loved ones, make a decision about what is best for you. Before exploring the treatments that are open to you, keep in mind the following important points.

  • Most prostate cancer is found very early. Don’t feel rushed to make a treatment choice, and don’t let others rush you.  
  • Take your time to learn all the facts and make a game plan. There are many resources to help you better understand the choices that you have.  
  • Obtain copies of your medical records and make sure you understand them, including the results of blood tests, biopsies and scans.  
  • Know your risk level for life-threatening cancer based on your tests:  are you low risk, intermediate risk or high risk?  
  • Find out if you need additional tests before looking at the different ways to manage your cancer. One test – the Oncotype DX prostate cancer test – is based on the biology of your cancer and can help predict the aggressiveness of your cancer, helping you and your doctor decide which treatment is right for you.  
  • When looking at treatment options, consider all your alternatives including success rates, side effects and the quality of life you will have going forward.  
  • Consider getting a second or even a third opinion regarding your treatment. You may want to seek information from the three types of physicians who specialize in prostate cancer treatment:  a urologist, a radiation oncologist and a medical oncologist.  
  • You may find it helpful to connect with other men to discuss their experiences with prostate cancer treatments and side effects. There are many local and on-line support groups that you can explore. 
  • Take a team approach:  Talk to your loved ones, and speak openly and honestly with your health care providers about your priorities and concerns.  
1 Cooperberg. 2010. JCO