Choosing Your Treatment and Location
The diagnosis process is hard enough and then they throw the hardest, fastest ball at you - what treatment are you going to choose and where will it take place?
Getting a second opinion
If you live in a city and your treatment options are limited to only one serious option then this might be easy but for others this might be much harder.
Even if you are surrounded by high-class treatment centers I’d still suggest seeking a second opinion. It’s easy to believe everything you are told when you are at best dazed and disoriented by the diagnostic process, so I always advise men to step back, stop and look around. Though it’s devastating and you’ll feel under pressure to make a quick decision, the opportunity to talk to another group of professionals and see their take on your situation could be very useful. It should set you at sufficient ease to take a confident decision.
Standing my ground
I say this from personal experience. I was kept waiting for what we call in the UK my offer of treatment meeting. That extra time had given me the opportunity to research all the possible treatments and choose what I thought would be best for me. The problem was that my choice of brachytherapy really was not suitable due to the extent of my disease, and my first surgeon made this quite clear.
I stood my ground and said I’d take a second opinion and to be fair the team supported this. Four days later I was in another surgeon’s office with all my scans asking him about brachytherapy, which he too told me was not suitable. He was also an experienced robotic surgeon and at that time he and his center had probably treated more than most others in the country. I would be about his 300th patient and that fact alone gave me huge confidence.
Lessons from my treatment process
One of the things I learned in my treatment process is that while your surgeon is the most visible member of your treatment team they are far from being the only one. Here in the UK we have clinical nurse specialists who are the glue between all the components and they quickly become the trusted key person in your treatment team.
If you have the chance to look at a second provider then ask about the nurses. When you reach the recovery process you will find that they are the people you spend the most time with and their guidance will be a great help.
Picking the path right for you
Perhaps the hardest thing to remember when you are choosing your treatment provider and perhaps even the type of treatment is that it’s your treatment, not anyone else’s. You will be the guy who arrives at that hospital, unsure of how you are going to feel and how your body will respond to the process, so take your time to be certain that you have found all the information you need about what you will go through. You have just the one chance to make it right for you. Grasp it firmly.
Have you made personal connections through your journey with prostate cancer?