4 Things You Can Consider if You’ve Been Diagnosed with Prostate Cancer
(Read time: 6 minutes)
This article is not intended to replace professional medical care or advice. If you have any questions or need additional information, please talk with your doctor.
It can come as a shock: You or a loved one has been diagnosed with prostate cancer. A prostate cancer diagnosis may leave you and your family members feeling numb, frightened, angry, or even confused.1
Experiencing different feelings is a normal part of coming to terms with cancer. Everyone reacts in their own way.1
Treatments for prostate cancer have improved over time. Many men have successfully beat prostate cancer and entered remission. In fact, prostate cancer has a 5-year relative survival rate of 97%.2
It’s important to know your options and prepare to take your next steps. Here are four things you can consider if you’ve been diagnosed with prostate cancer:
1. Learn about staging and risk assessment
Prostate cancer may be detected through screening, such as by testing prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels, or digital rectal exam (DRE) findings.3
A prostate biopsy is the method used to diagnose prostate cancer. In the procedure, a small sample of tissue is taken from the prostate, then examined by a pathologist. If the biopsy contains cancer cells, a pathologist assigns a grade. Since prostate cancers often have areas with different grades, pathologists assign two grades to the two parts of the biopsy that comprise most of the cancer. Those grades are added to yield the Gleason score. A Gleason score of 6 or less is low grade, 7 is intermediate grade, and a score of 8 to 10 is high grade cancer.4
A TNM staging system, used for cancer staging, may also be used to determine how far prostate cancer has spread using five key pieces of information:5
- The extent of the main tumor
- The extent of spread to the lymph nodes
- The presence of metastasis, or spread of cancer into the body beyond the prostate
- The PSA level
- The Grade Group (based on the Gleason score)
Learn more about grading and staging prostate cancer.
2. Understand treatment options and risks
Every person’s situation is unique, so it’s important that you fully understand your diagnosis, including your prostate cancer stage, and discuss your treatment options with your doctor.
Three types of prostate cancer treatment include active surveillance, radiation therapy, and surgical removal (called a prostatectomy).6–8 There are benefits and risks to each treatment option.SpaceOAR™ Hydrogel is a polyethylene glycol (PEG) based hydrogel clinically shown to help minimize urinary, sexual, and bowel side effects and maximize the quality of life for prostate cancer patients undergoing radiation therapy.9–11 Learn more.
3. Know your healthcare team
If you’ve been seeing your primary care doctor, you may be referred to a urologist, a doctor who treats conditions of the genital and urinary tract, including the prostate. Having the right doctor or specialist is important in making your treatment and care decisions. Keep in mind your treatment plan can last months or even years. For example, for some men, active surveillance for prostate cancer can last for years.6
Find a Doctor Near You Who Offers SpaceOAR Hydrogel
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*Please note, there may be other doctors in your area who treat prostate cancer not listed here.
4. Find support after a diagnosis
Coping with a prostate cancer diagnosis can be difficult. You may feel numb, frightened, angry, or any number of emotions. Talking to your friends and family can help and support you.1
You’re not alone. Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer among men, after skin cancer.12 About 1 in 8 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime. The American Cancer Society estimates about 288,300 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed in the U.S. alone.12
In addition to speaking with family, friends, and your community, you may consider joining a support or advocacy group. This can connect you with a community of like-minded people who understand what you’re going through.Resources for patient advocacy and support