You are not alone. You, the patient, should take the lead role in learning about your disease and making your own treatment decisions but you should develop a support team to help you including: family, friends, medical professionals, and support groups.
- Family and friends Prostate cancer can be a physical and emotional challenge, not just for men but for those close to them. You need to have one, or several, partner(s) to share your hopes and fears and to provide ongoing support. An understanding spouse, partner, son or daughter can help you research and process the information you need to develop a strategy. Appointments with physicians can be confusing, especially for the patient who has just been told that he has cancer. It helps to have an extra person to listen to the diagnosis and options. Two minds are better than one. Be sure to discuss questions before an appointment and compare what you each heard afterward.
It is also important to realize that your partners are affected with their own fears and concerns.
- Support groups A support group can provide a continuing opportunity to learn about the various aspects of the disease, and to share experiences and feelings with others. Be thoughtfully cautious about actual “medical advice” from other survivors, but learn to listen in context of their situation. Learn to understand the difference between their prostate cancer, and your prostate cancer; between their situation, and your situation. This perspective can help you evaluate important information, especially in an emotional setting.
Most meetings provide an educational program presented by a professional in the field followed by an open discussion session. Partners are encouraged to attend most groups. Some have a separate meeting for partners during part or all of the session. For additional information, see:
- Internet groups
At the 2011 Conference, PCRI announced the launch of the Prostate Cancer Blue Community(PCBC); a web based prostate cancer community that is overseen by the PCRI helpline. The PCBC has discussion forums about the conference and the different types of prostate cancer that we have broken down into Shades of Blue so that men can connect with other men in their same category of prostate cancer.
There are many other Internet lists & discussion groups devoted to the various aspects of prostate cancer. Some lists are moderated by a list owner, while other lists are simply an open discussion without a person filtering the messages. For additional information, see: PCRI Online Discussion Group page
- Medical Professionals You need to include on your team the medical professionals who will help you understand the options and who can provide expert treatments and after-care. Prostate cancer is usually diagnosed by a Urologist. You may then seek second opinions from other Urologists, Radiation Oncologists and/or Medical Oncologists. You may require diagnostic scanning by a Radiologist.
You should be prepared for discussions with all of these physicians and ask questions to fully understand your situation. In many cases, you may find that a Physician’s Assistant or Nurse practitioner can provide answers to your questions and are more available than the physician. You should seek treatment from highly experienced medical professionals who have state-of-the-art knowledge and equipment, see
Page updated 9/21/11