Recommendations for the "Newly Diagnosed" Prostate Cancer Patient
1. Do Not Panic! Many of us have been down this road before, and
there is much to learn before you choose the solution "best for you."
You have had this thing longer than you think, and taking the time to
do the proper investigation into your options will not hurt. Since
you have posted on the Internet, you obviously have the means to do
most of the research that you need to do. There is a wealth of
knowledge and experience for you to draw on.
2. Do Not Accept the First Recommendation From the Urologist! (Or
any other "first" recommendation) Get second, (or more) opinions from
experts in other specialties. Depending on your Gleason score, you
have time to figure this thing out! Gleason of 6 or less, take your
time and be thorough; Gleason 7 and up, you need to do something
sooner than later, but remember that it "is not going to kill you
tomorrow," so you still have time to do a good job of fact gathering.
Your PSA value enters into this equation also. This is the time to
learn and thoroughly examine ALL your options, because whatever you
choose, you will live with the consequences the rest of your days.
3. I recommend that you also join "YANA" (You Are Not Alone")
Explore it. (My story is on YANA, under Mentor Experiences/Proton
Beam). Study this site carefully; the author, Terry Herbert, is "One
4. Consider Proton Beam Radiation Therapy (PBRT), which is only
available at five "Centers of Excellence" in the U. S. This is the
ONLY treatment (other than "Watchful Waiting" which of course has no
side effects) that has the least amount of side effects (besides
continued potential tumor growth), with at least comparable results to
all other options. Usually you will not hear of this option from
other doctors or specialists!
Do not allow the fact that the doctor did not mention it prevent you
from considering this option along with the others! At the very least,
study the records about PBRT and if possible, visit one of the centers
for a consultation.
Nine weeks at one of only five centers that offer it.
High cost (Medicare and most insurance does cover it).
Full disclosure: I believe that PBRT results in the best chance for
improved "Quality of Life" during and following treatment, and
consider myself a "Proton Beam Advocate!"
I completed my PBRT in March of 2007.
5. Study the disease and the various treatments. Spend enough time to
start to understand what the treatments are and what potential side
effects and results are. Becoming an "informed, empowered patient" is
critical to how you proceed on this life-long journey. Different folks
take various amounts of time to accomplish this. In my case it took
me about three months before I realized that I was becoming
knowledgeable, and to be comfortable in understanding what was going
on. It was only then that I realized that I had to make the treatment
decisions myself, not relying primarily on various medical
specialists. And I am still learning.
6. Go here: and read Aubrey Pilgrims work:
Whatever method you choose for your treatment, you should be
comfortable with it.
Be happy that you made the choice, based on your personal situation.
This is many times better than accepting the recommendation of the
diagnosing specialist, then later wondering why you did not do your
"due diligence" and make your own decision!
Whatever method you choose, rest assured that the outcome, with
experienced surgeons or other specialists, is approximately the same
for most modalities. The major differences in the outcomes may be in
"quality of life" issues, which may or may not happen in every case.
For me, these were the main drivers in my decision to receive proton