What is prostate cancer?
Prostate cancer is the uncontrolled growth
of cells in the prostate gland which results in a tumor
that could metastasize
to the lymph node or bones in later stages.
Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in
men in the United States, but prostatic adenocarcinoma,
which refers to a specific type of prostate cancer,
is usually slow growing. New tests are catching prostate
cancer earlier which means the chances of beating the
disease are increasing. To read more about prostate
cancer, please go to the Prostate
What are my chances of losing
my sexual potency?
Many men are aware of the implications that
a prostate cancer diagnosis can have for their sexual
All prostate cancer treatments entail the risk of impotence;
however, there are new developing treatments are increasing
in effectiveness and decreasing in risk for impotence.
After treatment, there are many continually improving
medical options for men who want to regain sexual potency.
For more on sex after prostate cancer, please go to
Coping with Impotence.
What if I still want to
Prostate cancer is generally diagnosed in older
men who are past the time when they want to father children.
New detection techniques, however, are catching prostate
cancer in younger men. Prostate cancer treatment can
affect the ability to father children, whether by impotence,
of sexual desire. Before undergoing prostate cancer
treatments, patients should speak frankly with their
doctors about the occurrence of infertility. For more
information on infertility, please go to Coping
with Fertility Issues.
The number of prostate cancer
treatments is overwhelming, what can I do?
Treatments for prostate cancer vary according
therapy and to even list them all is daunting. And there
is no doctor who can tell you exactly what to do. Patients
historically had only EBRT
retropubic prostatectomy and if they failed, the
only recourses were orchiectomy
Fortunately, medicine has many advances in treatment
which unfortunately result in many choices. Ultimately,
the burden of choice rests on the patient and doctors
can only advise and inform.
Learn as much about treatment options as possible, and if you feel overwhelmed, you are in the majority of men who have been diagnosed. Speak with your doctor who can narrow your options or recommend a mental health professional who can help you cope with anxiety or fear. Take the necessary steps to ensure a clear headed decision. Finally, do not forget to allow your loved ones and spouse support you as you make your decision.
What are clinical trials?
Clinical trials are scientifically controlled
studies that are designed to compare the effectiveness
of different prostate cancer treatments. Most clinical
trials compare treatments that are similar. For example,
a study may be dedicated to comparing brachytherapy
alone to brachytherapy with neoadjuvant hormone therapy.
Should I enroll in a clinical trial?
By now, you are probably aware of the number of prostate cancer treatments and their side effects. Though new technologies and medicines are being developed continually, without controlled studies, nobody will know if these treatments are better. Without the men who enrolled in clinical trials, nobody would know that the nerve-sparing prostatectomy better preserves potency while still being as effective as the radical prostatectomy. The men who enroll in clinical trials are helping the men who will one day develop prostate cancer. And unlike in clinical trials for drugs such as headache medicine, no volunteers receive a placebo.
What is the financial cost to me from a clinical trial?
There is no cost to participate in a clinical trial. A sponsor pays for the primary treatment and any procedures that accompany the treatment, such as lab tests. Some trials require that patients or their insurance providers pay for procedures that would have been part of routine treatment anyway. What the sponsor will pay for is outline in the consent form. A doctor may refer you to a clinical trial or an online service can match you to a trial.
I’m supporting a family, what happens if I need to miss work?
Whether you miss work depends on how what treatment you receive and what type of job you have. Men with physical jobs will wait longer to return to work then men with sedentary jobs, and as will those men who opted for more invasive procedures. Some men will travel across the country to reach a certain doctor or center, and will have to take leaves of absences.
What can I do if I feel overwhelmed about my diagnosis?
Feelings of anxiety, fear, anger, bewilderment, etc., are common and acceptable following diagnosis, regardless of how long ago the diagnosis was received. You have the right to fear upset and fearful whether you have just been diagnosed or you are in the middle of treatment. If negative feelings are overwhelming you and preventing you from seeking proper treatment, talk with your doctor. Your doctor may be able to allay your fears or refer you to a counseling professional who can.