Community Views: What to Look for in a Urologist
After receiving a prostate cancer diagnosis, it can be hard to know what comes next. Choosing a doctor is one of the most important steps in the journey, but it can also feel overwhelming if you do not know what you are looking for.
Many men who have been living with prostate cancer for some time now have the experience of finding what works and what does not work when it comes to doctors. To tap into their expertise, we reached out to community members on our Facebook page. We asked them to tell us: “What are some of the best qualities to look for in a urologist?”
More than 50 community members shared. Here is what was said.
Find a doctor who explains various treatment options
One of the most common answers is that your doctor should not choose your treatment plan for you. It is important to find a urologist who explains the various options and gives you a chance to ask questions and think the options over. Too often, men regret finding out about a treatment after they already followed through on a different course of action that came with undesirable consequences.
“Ready to fully explain all options and make referrals.”
“Willing to spend time discussing them.”
“A good listener who thoroughly explains the options.”
A doctor who is respectful
Most men who are at the beginning of their prostate cancer journey do not know a lot about the disease. It is normal to feel overwhelmed and anxious, so finding a doctor who has patience and speaks to you with respect can give you a sense of calm. A urologist who helpfully educates you on what is happening and explains new medical terms will be a valuable member of your team.
“Someone who treats you with respect and care.”
“Personable and caring.”
“Bedside manner is as important as professional experience.”
Treats me as an individual
Everyone’s body and circumstances are different, which means everyone responds to treatment differently. It is crucial to have a doctor who takes the time to learn about you and your unique health needs. Plus, it is a much warmer experience to work with someone who treats you as a person, not a number.
“Treats the patient like an individual, not a problem to be processed or a statistical norm. For example, does not tell me impotence and incontinence after surgery will repair over time depending on age and health, but tells me what I, as a unique individual, am likely to expect at my age and with my existing health conditions.”
Clearly offers up-to-date information
As with any diagnosis, there can be new treatments and new findings happening during your journey. It can be hugely helpful to work with a urologist who knows about recent studies or new treatments. One community member shared that he researched every urologist locally to see which ones were publishing research papers. This is 1 way to find out which doctors are committed to up-to-the-minute science.
“Up-to-date information and experience.”
“I research every doctor I have seen. I research where they did medical school, papers they published, and where they did residency. It is probably just me, but I find it important.”
Look for a urologist who does not rush to surgery
Surgery is an option for many people with prostate cancer, but it is not the only option. Any surgery comes with risks and should be considered carefully. If your urologist is heavily pushing you toward surgery but that is not the option you thought was the best fit for you, it might be time to ask around for another doctor.
“They have the rap of cutting first.”
“Non-parochial (have hammer, but not all problems are nails).”
Thank you to everyone who shared their experiences and advice for this story. We appreciate all your feedback and suggestions.
Were you aware of family history of cancer, prior to diagnosis?