SolveYourProblem Article Series: Cancer
Help Me Understand Cancer



Prostate Cancer Questions For Your Specialist

Whether the doctor you're considering is a urologist or an oncologist, it's a very good idea to ask him some basic questions in person before signing up. Some men who've had prostate cancer say that they wish they would've asked more questions before agreeing to treatment, because they believe that a more experienced doctor might have preserved their sexual potency or provided them with better treatment. Learn from their mistakes and ask questions. You're making a pivotal decision, because the treatments the doctor provides will have a significant effect on your life - hopefully, a significantly positive effect!

Here are some questions to consider when talking to a urologist, radiation oncologist, or medical oncologist, as well as any other specialists you communicate with:

Have you treated many cases of prostate cancer? This question is more tactful than asking directly how many cases of cancer the doctor has treated. But you may prefer the direct approach, and that's okay, too.

The answer will usually generate a number (such as, "I've treated over a thousand cases since 1990") or some other answer. Seek someone with experience. If the doctor is a surgeon, he should perform at least 15 prostatectomies a year and have several hundred or more under his belt.

About what percentage of your prostate cancer patients are around my age? This is important, because if you're 50 years old, for example, and nearly all the doctor's patients have been older than 70, he may be less knowledgeable about preserving your sexual potency or your urinary continence than a doctor who treats patients closer to your age.

What are the possible side effects of the specific treatments you recommend? The doctor should talk to you about possible problems with impotence, mood swings, and other side effects. If the doctor waves away your questions or tells you to ask the nurse to explain everything, he's not the right doctor for you.

What is your success rate with the preservation of potency and continence? If he cites "the literature," tell him that you want to know about his results, not the general results for all doctors.

Do you see prostate cancer as a treatable illness? The answer should at least be a qualified "yes," because you want to be treated by a doctor who's going to fight for you, even if your case is a difficult one. Of course, you need to accept what he tells you, as well.

Now That You Have Chosen Your Specialist...

When you find a specialist you want to work with, it's vitally important that you understand what the doctor proposes to do, as well as what he wants you to do, and that you feel comfortable conveying concerns and questions to him. You need to establish a basic trust level and feel confident enough to ask the doctor about worrisome issues.

You, like many people, may fear that you're "bothering" the doctor when you ask him questions. Or you may worry that the doctor will think that you're stupid or annoying if you ask questions. This is rarely true. To communicate effectively with your doctor, follow these basic hints:

1. If you don't understand what your doctor says, don't say that you do. If possible, rephrase what you think he said, and then ask if you understand him correctly. ("Doctor, you're saying that I need to lose weight before surgery, correct? If so, how much weight, and how fast do I need to lose it?")

2. If you really don't get anything that your doctor says, ask him to explain it again, but in very simple terms. It's also a good idea to ask him to explain any words or phrases that you don't understand.

3. Tell your doctor that you're upset, and it's hard for you to grasp what he's saying (assuming this is true). Ask if he can explain it again at your next appointment.

4. Bring your partner or a friend with you when the doctor explains his treatment plan. They may be upset, because they care about you, but they'll probably be able to listen better than you can.

5. Take notes when your doctor talks to you. Then ask him about any points that are unclear to you.

6. Ask your most important questions first. Don't ask major questions last, when the doctor is walking out the door to see other patients.

7. When you start your treatment, be sure to tell your doctor if you have problems. Listen carefully to his suggestions on how to resolve them.

Get alternative cancer treatments and solve your problem, click here.

# # # # #

> Home > Cancer Articles : Main Page

© Launch 3, LLC All Rights Reserved          11:11

Disclaimer: should not replace seeking professional advice for any problem,  but rather as an online resource for gathering information. Launch 3, LLC cannot be held  responsible for any misrepresentation, incorrect information provided or hyperlinks listed herein.  Should anyone have concerns as to specific content and accuracy, please contact me immediately.