Approximately 1 out of every 8 men in the United States will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime. If you’ve joined the nearly 300,000 men diagnosed each year, you want to fully understand your options moving forward.
Deciding whether to treat your prostate cancer is a highly personal decision and should be based on your circumstances alone. Of course, the experienced team of men’s health experts here at Arizona Urology is here to guide you and provide you with the information you need to make the best choice for your goals.
Here, we focus on the critical points to consider when planning your next steps.
The first decision you face is whether to undergo treatment for your prostate cancer. It may seem counterintuitive, but not treating prostate cancer can be a very wise choice that best preserves your quality of life.
If your prostate cancer is in the early stages and confined to your prostate, there’s a good case for active surveillance. By that, we mean that we see you often to track your prostate cancer, which allows us to step in quickly if we see signs that it’s becoming more problematic.
Many of our patients opt for active surveillance because they’re older and/or have other, more imminent, health concerns. A good number of our patients also choose a wait-and-see approach because they want to avoid the side effects of treatment, namely incontinence and erectile dysfunction.
It’s also important to have a good support system in place if you opt for treatment, as you’ll need a little extra care afterward. If no such structure exists, it may be better to try active surveillance first.
There are several instances in which we might recommend treating your prostate cancer, including:
Like other cancers, we grade your prostate cancer. In this case, we use the Gleason scoring system, which rates the cancer cells. The scores range from 2-10, with 6 being low grade; 7, medium grade; and 8-10, high grade (scores between 2 and 5 are of little concern). Treatment is advisable if you have a score of 7 or higher.
If your PSA (prostate-specific androgen) level is higher than 10, it’s a good indicator that active cancer may be present.
If you have a strong family history of prostate cancer, especially a death due to the disease, treatment might be wise.
While most prostate cancer diagnoses occur later in life, in your 60 and 70s, some men are diagnosed earlier. If you’re in your 40s or 50s, treating your prostate cancer early on can make good sense.
Another reason some of our patients opt for treatment is that they simply don’t like the idea of cancer being present in their bodies.
As you can see, there are numerous factors to consider when deciding your next steps. The bottom line is that this is a personal decision, and you should be comfortable with your choice. To be sure, we’re here to guide you and provide you with recommendations.For more information on treating prostate cancer, please contact one of our locations in Goodyear, Gilbert, or Glendale, Arizona.