Prostate Cancer Overview

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Talking With Your Doctor TOPICS

What are some questions I can ask my doctor about prostate cancer?

As you cope with cancer and cancer treatment, we encourage you to have honest, open talks with your doctor. Feel free to ask any question that's on your mind, no matter how small it might seem. Here are some questions you might want to ask. Be sure to add your own questions as you think of them. Nurses, social workers, and other members of the treatment team may also be able to answer many of your questions.

  • Would you please write down the exact type of cancer I have?
  • May I have a copy of my pathology report?
  • What is the chance that the cancer has spread beyond my prostate? If so, is it still curable?
  • What other tests (if any) do you think I need and why?
  • Are there other types of doctors I should talk to before deciding on treatment?
  • What is the clinical stage and Gleason score of my cancer? What do those mean in my case? Does this make me a low-risk, intermediate-risk, or high-risk patient?
  • Is watchful waiting (active surveillance) an option for me? Why or why not?
  • Do I need a radical prostatectomy or radiation? Why or why not?
  • If I need a radical prostatectomy, will it be nerve sparing? Will it be laparoscopic?
  • What type of radiation treatment might be best for me?
  • What other treatments might be right for me? Why?
  • Among those treatments, what risks or side effects should I expect?
  • 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?
  • How quickly do I need to decide on treatment?
  • What should I do to be ready for treatment?
  • How long will treatment last? What will it involve? Where will it be done?
  • How would treatment affect my daily activities?
  • What are the chances of the cancer coming back with the treatment you suggest? What would be our next step if this happened?
  • What is my expected survival rate based on clinical stage, grade, and various treatment options?
  • What type of follow-up will I need after treatment?
  • Where can I find more information and support?

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Last Medical Review: 08/27/2013
Last Revised: 09/12/2014