The first question you should ask your doctor once you have been diagnosed with prostate cancer is – ‘how advanced is it?’ The answer to that question is going to make or break what it left of your life because it could mean the difference between life and death. Prostate cancer detected and diagnosed early can be treated and cured; prostate cancer diagnosed late can be fatal because it can only be treated, not cured. The doctor can tell the stage of your prostate cancer by carrying out a series of tests, which may include CT and MRI scans, and bone scans. The results gotten your prostate biopsy will certainly also come into play, as will be result of your PSA test.
Your second question may then be – ‘what treatment options do I have?’ It is not an easy question to provide an answer to because all of these treatments for prostate cancer have their merits and demerits in some way. Most of them even lead to loss of potency, something that many men may not be eager to want to deal with. At this time, you will be wishing the answer to the first question had been stage I because then you can opt for active surveillance to watchful waiting, to see if the cancer grows or if it stays, or if it grows so slowly that you may never get to feel the symptoms of it before you die of something else. Then you can forgo treatment and just come in for tests from time to time to see if the tumor has taken on a more aggressive slant.
Other treatment options are prostatectomy and radiation therapy, usually called for early stage disease; and hormonal therapy and chemotherapy, often used to treat advanced prostate cancer. HIFU (high intensity focused ultrasound) and cryosurgery are other treatments with incredible potential for early stage disease.
Your third question should be – ‘what are the side effects of these treatments?’ and the fourth: ‘what is the prognosis?’ All of these go a long way to determine which treatment you will settle for, without doubt; although the benefits of each therapy may make quite a strong case for it. The prognosis will help you determine whether to clean up your act and put your affairs in order in preparation for the inevitable, or just to go on living because everything will be fine.
Other questions do not quite carry as much weight as these four because they determine if you will go on or not in more ways than one. Do the smart thing and do not waste the moment – they might be so preciously few by now; ask the right questions already.