Getting The Most Out Of Your Urologist Visits: 5 Things Men Should Know
Whether you’re visiting your urologist for the first time, or for subsequent visits during and following treatment, here are five important tips for getting the most out of your appointments. You will find that by establishing goals for your conversation and being clear in what matters to you, you are on your way to becoming a patient advocate for the most important person in your situation...you.
1. Be very clear about what you want to know
Doctors are busy people, and you only have the appointment time to engage them and find out what you want to know, and what you want them to know. So, prepare for your visit because your treatment can be complex with clinical prescriptions that will have side effects and psycho-social impacts on your quality of life. You should be treated with respect and empathy, and, since decision-making should be shared, the more knowledge you acquire, the better the basis for your decisions.
2. Ask questions
Most important is that you come with your questions prepared. The only dumb question is the question you don’t ask. Curiosity about your diagnosis and treatment shows your urologist that you are a connected patient, and it is connected patients who get the best attention and, often, the best treatment. Understand the specifics of your condition and really listen. Other needs considered essential include, counselling and psychotherapy, discussion of sexual matters, and guidance and information on any complementary therapies you are taking.
3. Take someone with you to appointments
Cancer is bad news, and listening to what your doctor is saying can be hard as you struggle to take in your treatment plan for the coming months. Two pairs of ears are better than one. Having a friend or relative by your side to take notes, prompt you on questions, and listen carefully to the conversation, will give you peace of mind later as you try to make sense of the plan. And, let’s face it, your mind can go blank when the news you’re getting is poor.
4. Establish lines of communication
Between visits, you need to have a conduit to your urologist’s office to ensure information on reports and tests are relayed to you in a timely manner. Scan results need to be delivered quickly since you don’t need to let your anxiety about results linger any longer than is necessary. Research well the costs involved in your treatment. What will your insurance or Medicaid cover? What will co-pays be? Because care must be coordinated to match your work-life requirements, it’s important that you plan out your family and other commitments and slot in treatment sessions that match this.
5. Keep your own records
Knowledge is power, and the best way to build up your knowledge is to ask for, and carefully file, copies of your medical reports. This can be overwhelming, since after diagnosis, and during treatment, you are having blood tests, getting scanned, and generally being monitored for all aspects of your disease, by different doctors at multiple medical facilities. But, since you are both a patient and a customer, it is very important that you are given the full range of information when you are in consultations with your medical team.
How much do you worry about prostate cancer coming back after treatment?