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Treatment Options

Treatment Discussion Guide: How to Open a Dialogue with Your Physician

(Read time: 5 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.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with prostate cancer, you may have a lot of questions and concerns. It’s important to fully understand your diagnosis, treatment options, and the benefits and risks of each before you and your doctor decide on your treatment plan.

Here are some questions you may consider discussing with your doctor about a prostate cancer diagnosis and treatment options.

I’ve been diagnosed. Now what?

If you’ve been diagnosed with prostate cancer, some of the questions you might consider discussing with your physician include:

  • What does my PSA level mean?
  • What does my Gleason score mean?
  • What is the stage of my cancer?
  • Has my cancer spread and if so, how far?
  • What next steps should I take?

How do I decide on a treatment plan?

Questions you may consider asking your doctor about your treatment options:

  • What are the treatment options for this stage of cancer? Which of these options are available at this facility?
  • What will the preparation for treatment look like?
  • What will the duration of each treatment be? What about the entire treatment plan?
  • How soon must a decision on treatment be reached?
  • What is X treatment like? When/Where/How does it happen?
  • What are the expected side effects and risk factors associated with different treatment options?
  • What are the chances that I will suffer from complications during or after treatment?
  • What advanced technologies do you offer at this facility that can help reduce the risk of side effects?
  • What treatment may be right for me?

Older male patient talking to a doctor.If you’ve been seeing your primary care doctor, you may be referred to a urologist, a doctor who treats the genital and urinary tract, including the prostate. Other physicians who may help treat prostate cancer include medical oncologists and radiation oncologists. Below are questions you can consider asking these specialists about your unique diagnosis:

  • What are the treatment options available to me?
  • Is active surveillance, radiation therapy, or surgery to remove all or part of the prostate recommended?
  • Should laparoscopic or robot-assisted prostatectomy be considered?
  • Which kinds of radiation therapy would treat my cancer best?
  • Are there other alternative treatments that may work?

You may also consider asking questions about how your quality of life may be impacted:

  • Will there be an impact on my daily routine?
  • Will I be able to continue to work?
  • What activities will I still be able to do?
  • What activities are not recommended during each type of treatment?

What sort of side effects may I expect during and after treatment?


  • What are the known side effects of potential treatment options?
  • What are the chances that I will have problems with incontinence or impotence?
  • What are the chances that I will have other urinary or rectal problems?
  • Should I be worried about sexual/urinary problems or bowel dysfunction after treatment has ended?
  • Is there a chance the cancer will come back after treatment?

Don’t be afraid to ask questions and speak your mind, so you can learn about your prostate cancer diagnosis and next steps.

Get a printer-friendly version of this discussion guide and bring it to your next appointment with your doctor.

Download a prostate cancer treatment discussion guide

This material is for informational purposes only and not meant for medical diagnosis. This information does not constitute medical or legal advice, and Boston Scientific makes no representation regarding the medical benefits included in this information. Boston Scientific strongly recommends that you consult with your physician on all matters pertaining to your health.

CAUTION: U.S. Federal law restricts this device to sale by or on the order of a physician.

SpaceOAR Hydrogel is intended to temporarily move the rectal wall away from the prostate during the course of radiotherapy treatment for prostate cancer, and in creating this space it is the intent of SpaceOAR Hydrogel to reduce the radiation dose affecting the rectum.

SpaceOAR Hydrogel contains polyethylene glycol (PEG). As with any medical treatment, there are some risks involved with the use of SpaceOAR Hydrogel. Potential complications associated with SpaceOAR Hydrogel include, but are not limited to: pain associated with injection, pain or discomfort from the hydrogel, site inflammation, infection (including abscess), inability to urinate, urgent need to urinate, constipation, rectal muscle spasm, damage to lining of rectum, ulcers, fistula (a hole between rectum and bladder, urethra, or skin below the scrotum), perforation (hole in prostate, bladder, urethra, rectum), necrosis (dead tissue), allergic reaction (local reaction or more severe reaction, such as anaphylaxis), embolism (blood vessel blockage is possible and may happen outside of the pelvis, potentially impacting vital organs or legs), fainting, and bleeding. Please talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits related to using SpaceOAR Hydrogel. If one or more of these complications occur, you may need medical treatment or surgery. URO-1288805-AA

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