Prostate Cancer Diagnosis
If you've recently been diagnosed with prostate cancer, you and your family are probably trying to decide what’s next. With several different approaches to prostate cancer treatment available, it’s normal to have a lot of questions about which is best for you and what to expect. Read on for answers to some of those questions and guidance to help you decide how to start your road to recovery.
If you’re looking for information about prostate cancer diagnosis, staging, and common treatment options, visit our prostate cancer section.
Should I Get a Second Opinion?
You may have received a prostate cancer diagnosis from your urologist or another physician. If their area of specialty is not prostate cancer treatment specifically, it would be best to discuss your treatment options with an oncologist – a doctor that specializes in cancer treatment.
There are several different approaches to prostate cancer treatment. If cancer is found at an early stage your doctor may recommend an “active surveillance” or “watchful waiting” approach. There are several different medical treatments available as well. Each individual case is different, and if you have any doubt whatsoever about the treatment plan that’s best for you, or if you just want to determine if the suggested treatment plan is what a cancer specialist would also suggest, it would be best to get a second opinion.
Most insurance companies will cover a second opinion assessment, but you should always check with your insurance provider to check your coverage before making an appointment.
The oncologists at Compass Oncology in Portland and Vancouver are available for second opinions if you’d like one.
What Kind of Doctor Should I See?
Once you're confident about your cancer diagnosis, it's time to schedule an appointment for prostate cancer treatment. The type of doctor you will see for treatment will depend on your specific case, and they will develop a treatment plan tailored to you. At Compass Oncology, you will typically see a medical oncologist first where they will assess your condition and then refer you to a radiation oncologist as appropriate for treatment based on the stage of the cancer.
What Is the Extent of My Prostate Cancer?
Most likely you've already had some tests that were done which may have included a biopsy, blood tests, scans and other tests that can help the oncologist understand how advanced your prostate cancer is. S/He will give your cancer a grade, also called a stage, based on the size and location of the prostate cancer. Learn more in our staging section.
During your first meeting with the prostate cancer specialist, they will evaluate what has already been done and may request a few more tests before recommending a treatment plan.
What Should I Know About My First Oncology Appointment?
You may find your first appointment somewhat overwhelming. Make sure to bring a notebook to this (and every) appointment so you can take notes. Or, use your smartphone to record the session and transcribe detailed notes later. Most Compass Oncology prostate cancer doctors strongly recommend that first-time patients bring a friend or loved one along to provide support, ask questions and help take notes.
What Questions Should I Ask My Oncologist?
You'll probably have to wait at least a few days between your diagnosis and your first oncology appointment. You and your loved ones will likely spend a lot of time discussing your cancer diagnosis and no doubt, as you are right now, researching the internet for what you might hear in the appointment.
As you go through your research process, write down any questions that come up so you remember to ask the oncologist, the benefits specialist, or the other cancer specialists you’ll meet on your first visit. Common questions include:
- Does my prostate cancer require treatment right away?
- If it does, what are my treatment options?
- Are there treatment side effects?
- Will the treatment result in long-lasting effects on the bladder or rectum?
- How long does treatment last?
- Will I need to have prostate cancer surgery?
- Are there activities I should avoid or add to my routine?
- What should my diet consist of?
- Can I continue taking my supplements? Should I add any additional supplements?
- Will I still visit my primary care doctor?
- Are there any prostate cancer clinical trials I should consider?
- How likely is my cancer to recur after treatment?
- Should my family get genetic testing?
Will My Treatment Be Paid for By Insurance?
Cancer treatment is expensive. After a prostate cancer diagnosis, request a full description of your medical benefits from your insurance provider. Bring that with you to your first appointment. During your first visit, you’ll spend some time with the Compass Oncology patient benefits specialist. They will know how to help you with gaps in coverage for prescriptions or other concerns that many patients have related to paying for cancer treatment.
Are There Support Resources for Me or My Loved Ones?
We hope you will turn to the Compass Oncology team of prostate cancer doctors in Portland and Vancouver, as your primary resource for assistance during this challenging time. Our team of cancer specialists includes doctors, nurses, financial experts and social support. They are experienced in helping patients work through the impact on you and your family’s daily lives.
You can also find a list of support groups that many patients find invaluable during your cancer treatment process and even after treatment is complete. We hope you can find a group that you enjoy meeting with and take advantage of their experiences to assist and encourage you.