Take Charge of your Prostate Cancer
Treatments and technologies for prostate cancer are constantly improving, but there are some basic principles that don't change: Advocate for Yourself and Educate Yourself
Advocate for Yourself
Understand your Diagnosis
For most men, a prostate cancer diagnosis is usually triggered by a rise in PSA followed by a biopsy of the prostate. A pathologist examines the biopsy samples (“cores”) and assigns a rating ("Gleason score") that ranks the severity of the disease (if any). Your immediate challenge is to understand the key concepts so that you can ask questions, maintain perspective, and be an informed collaborator with your medical team.
Be proactive. Partner with your doctors. Remember, the doctors work for you.
Get a Second Opinion (...or a third)
In our Newly Diagnosed meetings, we almost always advise getting a second pathology opinion. A second opinion can change the diagnosis (20-30% of pathology results are changed), impacting treatment and prognosis.
The Department of Pathology at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore (director Dr. Jonathan Epstein, M.D.) offers a world-class Get a Second Opinion service that many of our members recommend. It’s well worth it.
Keep your own Records
Stay in charge of your medical records, especially in the beginning. Keep your own copies or have easy access to them. You'll have PSA numbers and history, pathology report(s), perhaps imaging results and more. This is especially important before you start treatment.
You want to fight fear with facts, to become an informed participant in the treatment and management of your disease. You look on line to help you learn, but the flood of information is overwhelming. From the CDC to the NIH, from the American Cancer Society to our local medical centers, everyone wants to help. So do we.
Start here: Terms to Know explains some of the key medical terms you will hear right from the start, and includes a Glossary of selected Prostate Cancer terms.
Resources links to sites and organizations that we find helpful.
Publications lists books and booklets we found instructive.
The FAQ is a growing list of Frequently Asked Questions about Living with Prostate Cancer: diagnosis, imaging, treatments, and side effects.
The Newsletters blog presents frequent news and updates from Dr. Charles Metzger on a wide range of prostate cancer topics.
The PFOC Presentations Library contains recordings of presentations from prostate cancer experts across the globe.
USNews and World Report periodically publishes a national ranking of hospitals by specialty.
Local Centers of Excellence
Most have multiple locations in and around Orange County, California.