Finding the Best Prostate Cancer Doctor and Treatment
Being diagnosed with prostate cancer was devastating. It caught me entirely off guard. It hit me so hard that I thought my life was over. And I just wanted it gone.
Rushing into a treatment decision
Therefore, I ended up making a quick treatment decision and not following the advice of my doctor. He strongly encouraged me not to rush into surgery, as there were many other options to consider. And he recommended that before I commit to a decision, it’s best to seek multiple opinions.
But I was in shock and not thinking clearly. And in the back of my mind, I had already made the decision.
Forgetting an important rule
Now that my treatment is behind me, I’ve had time to reflect on the experience. And with my newfound knowledge, I would have approached my diagnosis differently. The first thing would be not to panic and realize that my cancer didn’t pop up overnight. It was most likely growing for years, undetected.
The second would be to take my doctor’s advice — take my time, research options, and seek multiple opinions. And the third one might surprise you. I’m an amateur chess player who forgot one of the most important rules. That is, “When you see a good move, look for a better one.” By not jumping on the first good move you see, this rule forces you to look around. After all, how do you know it’s the best move unless you compare it to others?
Doing the homework
This chess rule can also apply to almost any decision in life, including finding the best doctor and treatment. Even though my urologist was very caring and knowledgeable, I shouldn’t have assumed he was the best for me. But I had so much confidence in him and didn’t think it was necessary. However, I still should have followed his advice.
Going with the first doctor is a bit like purchasing the first car you took for a test drive. Sure, it might be a fantastic car and even a good deal. But without shopping around or having expert knowledge at hand, your decision is based on limited information. And even if I ended up staying with the same doctor after seeking other opinions, that’s okay. I would then be comforted knowing that I did my homework and made an informed decision.
Speaking with multiple doctors
But a word of caution. Even the best doctors in the world might have their own best interests in mind. Or they might be limited to their own modality. That is, a radiation oncologist may endorse radiation, while a surgeon may prescribe surgery. For that reason alone, it’s critical to speak with other doctors.
Seeking different opinions not only relates to finding the best doctor for your case. It’s also to ensure your diagnosis is correct. And I think a doctor should endorse seeking advice from other medical professionals. If they don’t, that might be a reason to look elsewhere.
If possible, bring someone with you to your appointments and take notes. I think a doctor should be personable, a great listener, and empathetic to a person's concerns. You should never feel rushed or unheard. A professional doctor is kind and compassionate to everyone, including your family and colleagues.
Not feeling pressured
When it comes to making a treatment decision, you should never feel pressured one way or another. Ideally, a doctor should have extensive experience with a proven track record. Even if your doctor has performed thousands of procedures, I believe it's good to know how many patients experience good recovery.
You may have heard the old cliché “practice makes perfect.” However, my martial arts training has taught me that only “perfect practice makes perfect.” Meaning that quality far outweighs quantity.
Finding the best cancer doctor and treatment can be overwhelming and time-consuming. Make sure you have all the facts. And recognize that while one treatment may work for one, it may not work for another. Every case is different and personal. Think about what matters to you. It’s your body, and it deserves your time. After all, there is no going back after you already had treatment.
Have you made personal connections through your journey with prostate cancer?