Newly Diagnosed with Prostate Cancer?
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 more information about prostate cancer diagnosis, staging, and common treatment options, visit our prostate cancer overview page.
Related Read: 8 Facts You Probably Didn't Know About Prostate Cancer
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. Learn more about a second opinion from our prostate cancer specialists located throughout Virginia and Eastern North Carolina.
What Kind of Doctor Should I See?
Once you're confident about your prostate 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. At Virginia Oncology Associates, 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. The medical oncologist and radiation oncologist often work together to develop a prostate cancer treatment plan tailored to you.
What Is the Extent of My Prostate Cancer?
Most likely you've already had some tests 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. They will determine the stage of prostate cancer based on size and location of your tumor.
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 with the oncologist somewhat overwhelming. Make sure to bring a notebook to this (and every) appointment so you can take notes. Most of Virginia Oncology Associates' 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 the prostate cancer diagnosis and the 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?
Which Prostate Cancer Treatments Will I Receive?
Your cancer care team will discuss treatment options with you. Treatments will be based on a variety of factors, including the your age, the grade of the tumor (the Gleason score), the number of biopsy tissue samples that contain cancer cells, the stage of the cancer, symptoms, and your general health. Prostate cancer treatment options can include:
Surgery to Remove the Prostate
Your prostate cancer team at Virginia Oncology Associates will evaluate your individual situation and recommend the most effective treatment options.
Are There Available Prostate Cancer Clinical Trials?
As a member of US Oncology Research, Virginia Oncology Associates can provide access to the latest clinical trials in the Hampton Roads area. Prosate cancer research helps discover new treatment options and new approaches for treating this type of cancer.
Talk to your oncologist to find out if you are right for one of our available prostate cancer trials.
More About Prostate Cancer Research
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 Virginia Oncology Associates’ 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 My Loved Ones or Me?
We hope you will turn to the Virginia Oncology Associates team of prostate cancer doctors 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 of cancer on you and your family’s daily lives. Explore our list of community resources or learn about our cancer support group, which many patients find invaluable during the cancer treatment process and even after treatment is complete.
Genetic testing is also available through Virginia Oncology Associates to identify those at an increased risk of developing prostate cancer due to inherited gene mutations, many of which occur in families with specific medical histories. While testing can be beneficial in understanding your and your family's risk, not everyone is an ideal candidate.
Related Read: Should I Get Genetic Testing for Prostate Cancer?
Find Prostate Cancer Care Throughout Hampton Roads and Eastern North Carolina
If you or a loved one has been newly diagnosed with prostate cancer and are seeking treatment in the Hampton Roads and Eastern North Carolina area, we are here to help you every step of the way, including providing you resources with helpful tips and what to expect during the prostate cancer journey. The prostate cancer specialists at Virginia Oncology Associates will work with you to create a personalized treatment plans based on your specific diagnosis. Find an oncologist near you to request an appointment.