Making the decision about what treatment to have and when to start it can be challenging. However, the ‘right’ treatment for you depends on a number of things such as:
- your age
- the stage of your prostate cancer
- your current or future relationship plans
- your current health status
- the benefits and risks of each treatment option
- your quality of life.
Listed below are some questions you may want to ask members of your healthcare team about your treatment options:
- What are all my treatment options?
- What is the standard treatment of my stage of prostate cancer?
- What do the treatments do? (Do they aim to remove or just contain the cancer?)
- What are the treatment procedures?
- What are the benefits and how likely are they?
- What are the possible side effects?
- What do I have to do and how may it affect my day-to-day life? (e.g. travel to a treatment centre, time off work, changes in responsibilities)
- How will the treatments be monitored?
- What are the costs involved with the treatments?
- How may the treatments affect other health conditions I may have?
Gather as much information as possible so you can be as informed as possible to support your decisions. Ensure you are actively involved in decision making, taking into account the pros and cons of each option. Make sure your choices suit you as well as others who are involved. Discussing options with your partner and/or close family or friends can help, as can speaking to someone at your local prostate cancer support group (for locations, please see www.pcfa.org.au). Members of your healthcare team can also help you with the treatment decision by taking you through the procedures and answering any questions you may have.
You can read more about treatment options specifically for men with advanced prostate cancer in one of the booklets in this series: Treatment.