What You Should Ask Your Doctor

In order to get the most effective treatment and best outcome for your prostate cancer, it's important to become an advocate for your health. As this website demonstrates, there's a lot of treatment information available. Understandably, you and your family may become overwhelmed as you sort through all the options.

It's important to understand the risks and benefits to each possible decision you explore for prostate cancer treatment. Start by asking your doctor questions. Here are 16 important ones to consider discussing with your physician. (Print this page and bring it to your next appointment.)

  1. How far along is my prostate cancer?
  2. What is its stage? (How far does it seem to have spread?)
  3. What is my cancer's grade? (How fast is it likely to spread?)
  4. Is my chance of cancer spread high? If so, do I need more testing? What are the recommendations about more testing?
  5. Do I need a second opinion?
  6. What are my treatment choices (including watchful waiting/active surveillance)? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each?
  7. What are the chances for each treatment to cure my cancer?
  8. What are the chances of complications from each treatment? What kinds of complications are likely from each?
  9. How are the complications themselves treated-for example, urinary incontinence or erectile dysfunction?
  10. If I choose an operation, how many days will I be in the hospital?
  11. How long will I have a catheter after the operation?
  12. How much time will I need to fully recover?
  13. If I choose radiation therapy, how much time will be required?
  14. Will I need to take time off from work or other activities?
  15. What is likely to happen if I choose no treatment (watchful waiting/active surveillance)? How frequently will I need examinations?
  16. Following treatment, how often will I need examinations?