Making the Choice: Advanced Prostate Cancer Treatments

Today patients have many choices on how to treat their advanced prostate cancer. There are many new therapies that have been approved by the FDA in the last few years and more are in development for the future. It can be challenging to decide which treatment to choose.

When patients are deciding on their course of action there a many important things to consider.

What are the Possible Side Effects?

As patients weight their options they need to consider their quality of life. It’s important to discuss the risks and benefits of each possible treatment with your doctor. Ask them to tell you about any side effects that medications may have both long term and short term.

Some drugs have risks such as muscle weakness or nausea. It is important to weigh those side effects against the benefits of that particular drug.

Take a Good Look at the Costs

Don’t hesitate to ask your doctor about the cost of certain treatments. Doctors understand that patients are very worried about the cost of care. Your doctor might not initially bring up the subject, but you can initiate the conversation by saying something like “Is there any way I can get an estimate on the costs of my cancer treatment before we start it?” Your doctor should be glad to help address these valid concerns.

Consider Your Family History

Doctors always ask whether prostate cancer runs in the family. And for good reason. The family history can influence the treatment plan that they suggest for you. For instance, a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine determined that more than 10% of men with advanced prostate cancer have a genetic mutation that raises the chance of having cancer.

Schedule of Treatment

You need to carefully consider how the treatment you choose affects might your daily routine. Questions like these are very relevant:
• Will I need to leave work/take vacation time early to get treatment?
• What will the arrangements be for transportation to get to and from the treatment center?
• If you have a caregiver, determine whether the treatment works with their job and schedule.

There is no treatment available, no matter how advanced it is, that will work if you don’t stick to it/remain compliant to the schedule. Some treatments have schedules that are more flexible than others so discuss that with your doctor.

Carefully Factor in Any Additional Health Problems You May Have

Many times your overall health will determine how well you handle a particular treatment. 66 is the average age of prostate cancer diagnosis in the U.S. Men with advanced prostate cancer are on average, about 10 years older when they get diagnosed. During your mid 70’s and later, patients are more likely to have long-term health conditions like diabetes and heart disease. These conditions can complicate cancer treatment.

Determine the Level of Your Personal Support Network

When you need treatment for prostate cancer, ask for help and support. Tell your family and friends and let them give you some assistance. That kind of help can be invaluable. You can also hire reliable staff that can be of aid. Your doctor or a staff member at the clinic may know about local organizations that offer discounted home care services.

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