Keep Calm and Take Charge
When you're first diagnosed, you may be quickly overwhelmed by the vast amount of information now available about prostate cancer. Our Newly Diagnosed meetings are intended to help you find your way through all that information, so that you can advocate for yourself and take charge of your cancer.
A Newly Diagnosed support group meets on the 2nd Tuesday of each month at 5pm Pacific Time
Come talk with us about your anxieties and your diagnosis
These meetings are intended for anyone who wants to learn more about prostate cancer - especially men who want to talk specifically about their own diagnosis, for their families and friends, and even men who are not diagnosed but may be wondering if they should be tested.
If you'd prefer not to talk, that's OK. You'll still learn a great deal about your diagnosis and options simply by listening to others.
Meetings are structured and moderated, but they are not lectures - everyone gets a chance to talk and be heard.
If you want to talk, "raise your hand" in Zoom.
When it’s your turn, the moderator will ask “what’s going on?”
Start with your name, your age., and where you're located. (If you've subscribed to the mailing list, tell us the name you used.)
Then take a few minutes to talk about your diagnosis: how you found out, where you are getting treatment, what your doctors told you about your illness, what you know so far, what you’ve done to date, and, if you like, how you’re feeling and getting along at this point.
The moderators will respond, perhaps asking you a few questions – the Diagnosis Checklist below tells you the information that’s helpful for them to know.
The moderators, and perhaps some other participants, will usually provide some clarifications, talk about resources, and suggest options (not medical advice--that's for your medical team) based on their years of experience, current guidelines for prostate cancer, and on promising new technologies.
Dr. Charles Metzger, MD (ret.), VP of the Prostate Forum, is a urologist with more than 30 years of experience helping men with the disease.
Ira Kaget, the principal moderator, is living with prostate cancer under "Active Surveillance" since 2009. He has followed the extraordinary growth in methods and technologies for treating prostate cancer in recent years and is a particularly knowledgeable resource for newly diagnosed patients.
Although each prostate cancer diagnosis is different, you will hear similar recommendations: get a second opinion; use MRI-guided biopsy; advocate for yourself. You'll hear about local centers of excellence. And you'll learn that you are not alone on your journey.
We don’t offer medical advice, but we do recommend that you follow the guidelines of the Prostate Cancer Foundation Guide (PCF) and the Prostate Cancer Early Stage patient guidelines from the National Cancer Coalition Network (NCCN). In particular, we know from our experience the value of following these guidelines:
Get an MRI guided (fusion) biopsy.
Keep copies of your medical records and try to understand them
Learn what you can about prostate cancer so that you can advocate for yourself.
To get the most from the forum, we recommend you come as prepared and as informed as you can.
You've probably already had some tests done and seen some results, so gather and summarize that information. We'll help you understand the results. Don't worry if you don't have all the information - we'll still be able to help, and you'll still come away from the meeting better informed, knowing the questions you should be asking. This list should help.
Diagnosis Checklist: (see the basic Terminology definitions below for any terms you don't understand.)
When and how were you diagnosed?
What is your PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) history? What is it now and how has it changed over the past year or so?
Have you had a Digital Rectal Exam (DRE - "the finger")? What did the doctor find?
Have you had a biopsy? When? (You may want to have the pathology report with you at the meeting.)
Was it a fusion biopsy (MRI-guided)?
Do you know your Gleason Score?
Is there any indication that the cancer has breached the prostate capsule? Has it spread to other parts of your body?
Terminology - the Basics
The list below explains the principal terms you want to know initially, and the page Take Charge of Your Prostate Cancer will help you develop a measured and educated strategy. When you are ready to go deeper, you'll find more comprehensive definitions on the Terms to Know page, links to a wealth of helpful information on the Resources page, and details of encouraging developments for prostate cancer management in our Presentations Library.
Sometimes called “Watchful Waiting,” this is an approach in which a you and/or your physician monitor your condition, allowing time to pass before medical intervention or therapy is used. During this time, repeated testing may be performed - regular PSA test and MRIs.
A sample of tissue is taken from the body to be examined microscopically to ascertain if cancer is present. A doctor will recommend a biopsy when an initial test suggests an area of tissue in the body isn’t normal. It is the most important procedure in diagnosing cancer.
Digital Rectal Exam (DRE)
Digital Rectal Exam (DRE) Finger wave! A health care provider inserts a gloved, lubricated finger into the rectum and examines the prostate for any irregularities in size, shape and texture.
Fusion (MRI guided) biopsy
First an MRI looks for suspicions lesions. This is followed by a targeted biopsy to examine the suspect. lesions.
Gleason Score (Basic)
A pathologist assigns a grade from 1 to 5 to the two most predominant cancer patterns in your biopsy and adds the two grades to give the Gleason Score. In practice, scores are often expressed as a sum (e.g. 3+4, 4+3 indicating intermediate favorable and intermediate unfavorable).
This is an indication of the risk of your cancer, from Low (Group 1) through Intermediate (Grades 2 and 3) to High (Groups 4 and 5)
Grade and Stage of cancer
The stage of your cancer looks at where the cancer is present in your body. The grade of your cancer describes what the cancel cells look like under a microscope. See Gleason Score and Grade Group
PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen)
PSA, or prostate-specific antigen, is a protein produced by the prostate and found mostly in semen, with very small amounts released into the bloodstream. When there’s a problem with the prostate—such as the development and growth of prostate cancer—more PSA is released