7 Questions to Ask Your Doctor About Prostate Cancer
1. Do I really have cancer?
The PSA test is “not a perfect blood test, but it is the best method for finding men who might have prostate cancer.
2. What is the grade of my cancer?
Tumor grades come in low, medium and high, in order of aggressiveness. In prostate cancer, the Gleason score measures the grade on a scale of six to 10.
3. How much cancer do I have?
During a typical biopsy, the doctor takes 12 to 14 cell samples. How many of those samples showed prostate cancer, and how much is important. If the samples contain many cancer cells, you might get further tests – an MRI and bone scan – to determine whether the cancer has spread beyond the prostate.
4. Are cancer stage and grade related?
The two tend to correlate. More aggressive cancers usually are associated with higher-grade cancers. Conversely, the less aggressive the cancer, the lower the stage is likely to be.
5. Does my cancer need to be treated?
You can choose to follow an active surveillance of the cancer : If you have low-grade, low-stage cancer, you may elect to do nothing.
6. What are my treatment options?
There are a number of treatment options such as radiation or surgery. Surgery falls into two categories as well: open or minimally invasive, which includes laparoscopic and robotic. Check your options.
7. What are the side effects of my treatments?
There’s no treatment option that doesn’t have potential for side effects.