It is likely that throughout the prostate cancer journey you will work with several medical specialists for treatment. Keep in mind that you have a choice in who manages your care. This is about finding the right treatment team for you to work with to make the right decisions for you. Make sure to find a team you are comfortable with and trust.
Consider a Second Opinion
Many people seek second opinions to confirm their diagnosis, learn more about the disease and hear different opinions on the best treatment options. Seeking a second opinion following a prostate cancer diagnosis is very common and doing so can make you feel more confident in the treatment decision that you make. Prostate cancer is a complex disease and usually a man can choose from different treatment options. What is right for one man may not be right for you.
Consider a Multidisciplinary Team
To receive the best care possible for prostate cancer, seek care from a multidisciplinary medical team. A multidisciplinary team is a group of health care professionals from different specialties that work together to suggest a treatment plan for you based on your diagnosis, personal health, and preferences to ensure you have the best health outcome and highest quality of life. Expert medical oncologist Dr. Alicia Morgans, from Vanderbilt Cancer Center, speaks on the importance of putting together a multidisciplinary team.
If you are unable to work with a multidisciplinary team, round out your team of professionals with a visit to an oncologist, even if you have been diagnosed with very early stage disease. This will give you a full understanding of all available treatments so you have the best chance to beat the disease. It will also help you understand your potential options if the cancer returns.
In a recent survey by ZERO, only 41 percent of men with prostate cancer were referred to an oncologist at some point during their prostate cancer journey. Click here to hear what patients and caregivers are saying about their prostate cancer experience.
Most of the time the physician who makes the diagnosis of prostate cancer is the urologist. It is important to work with the urologist as you put together your team for treatment and support. Specialists involved in the treatment and management of prostate cancer are noted below.
A urologist is a physician specializing in diseases of the male reproductive organs and male and female urinary tract. Some urologists have oncology training. Many urologists are also involved in certain aspects of other forms of therapy including radiation therapy, hormonal therapy, treatment of advanced disease, clinical trials, and active surveillance. All urologists are surgeons as well, and many perform prostate cancer surgery.
A radiation oncologist is a highly trained physician specializing in the treatment of prostate cancer using the various types of radiation approved to treat the disease.
A medical oncologist is a physician who specializes in the non-surgical treatment of cancer with medicines such as chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, and other drugs. While many men with prostate cancer will work most closely with a urologist, it is important to include a medical oncologist in the early phases of treatment planning.
Primary Care Physician
This is a man’s personal physician, most likely an internist or family medicine physician who treats common illness and oversees general care.
Oncology Social Worker
Oncology social workers are trained to work with prostate cancer patients and their families, most frequently men with advanced prostate cancer. It is important to understand your emotional well being and get the support you need mentally as well as physically. An oncology social worker provides individual counseling, access to support groups, and referrals to related services for men with prostate cancer.
A physical therapist can help deal with the physical changes caused by cancer treatment. Before or after surgery or radiation therapy, working with a physical therapist to strengthen the pelvic floor can help to manage or prevent side effects such as urinary incontinence.
A nutritionist provides information and guidance about good nutrition. This can help a patient combat cancer- or treatment-related weight loss or gain by recommending foods that provide adequate calories, vitamins, and protein. In addition, a nutritionist provides helpful tips and recipes customized to fit your specific dietary needs.