What Kind of Doctor Should I Visit First After a Prostate Cancer Diagnosis?
Most often a urologist will be the doctor who performs the biopsy and determines if prostate cancer is present. They can also tell you how aggressive the cancer is, which is a sign of how fast it will grow.
Following a diagnosis, we recommend you schedule an oncology consultation with a prostate cancer specialist. This doctor and the supporting team are familiar with the latest prostate cancer treatments and which are most likely to be effective for a specific patient.
Free Prostate Cancer Treatment Guide
If you've been diagnosed with prostate cancer, there are a lot of decisions to make including what types of treatments are right for you and when to start.
Should I Have Prostate Removal Surgery Before Seeing an Oncologist?
It’s important to note that surgery to remove the prostate is not always necessary. In your appointment with the oncologist, talk about your treatment goals. They can discuss the potential side effects of each type of treatment so you can make a decision about what’s best for you.
Understanding the Extent of Prostate Cancer
Your oncologist will help you understand how much the cancer has grown and how quickly it's likely to grow in the future. The information provided by the biopsy, combined with information from other tests that are performed, will help determine the stage and grade.
Staging Prostate Cancer
The oncologist will use the results of the biopsy and any other tests that were part of the diagnosis process to determine the stage of prostate cancer. There may need to be some other scans and tests that can help the oncologist understand whether the cancer cells have grown outside of the prostate.
Gleason Score & Grading
The Gleason score is provided as a part of your biopsy report. This explains to the oncologist how much the prostate cancer cells have changed in various areas of the prostate. This is also referred to as the grade of cancer. It will be used as a part of the decision on whether your prostate cancer treatment needs to begin right away.
Preparing for Your First Oncology Appointment
During your first visit, you’ll receive a lot of important details that can be hard to remember. This is why we recommend you bring a notebook to this (and every) appointment so you can take notes. Or, use your smartphone to record the session and transcribe detailed notes later. Your notebook or device is also a great place to jot down questions you have or record symptoms you might be experiencing.
We also strongly recommend first-time patients bring a friend or loved one to the appointment. Not only can they provide much-needed support, but they can also ask questions and help take notes.
Finally, to help your first appointment go more smoothly, be sure to bring your health records with you. This includes any prostate cancer test results, recent imaging scans, insurance card, and a list of medications or supplements you’re taking.
Questions to Ask Your Oncologist About a Prostate Cancer Diagnosis
- How soon do I have to make a decision regarding treatment?
If watchful waiting is recommended, how often do I need to come back for testing?
What treatment plan do you recommend when it’s time to start?
What can I expect during future appointments?
Should I change any current lifestyle choices (diet, exercise, rest, stress level)?
What should I do about any symptoms that may be affecting my day-to-day activities?
Are there any activities to avoid? Are there any that should be added to my routine?
Are there nutritional supplements or vitamins I can take to boost prostate health?
Should I, or my family, seek genetic testing to see if this cancer is hereditary?
What type of supportive care is available to me through the practice or community organizations?
Second Opinions on a Prostate Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment are Important
It’s imperative that you feel confident about your prostate cancer diagnosis and the plan for treatment, even if that starts out with watchful waiting. Because of this, many patients choose to get a second opinion. Our oncologists provide many second opinions and they are not offended when a patient seeks a second opinion on their diagnosis and recommendations. Often your insurance company will cover a second opinion assessment. It’s a good idea to contact your insurance provider for verification of coverage before setting the second opinion appointment.
You Are Not Alone in Your Prostate Cancer Journey
At RMCC, we are here to support you every step of the way. We have convenient locations throughout Colorado. If you would like to speak with one of our prostate cancer specialists, request an appointment.