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Federal Consumer Information Center Understanding Treatment Choices Federal Consumer Information Center: Understanding Treatment Choices for Prostate Cancer
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Making Treatment Choices

If you have been diagnosed with prostate cancer, you may be overwhelmed with an array of treatment options. Your course of action will, to some extent, be influenced by the character of your cancer. Your decisions should also reflect your personal priorities after weighing each potential benefit and possible harm for the treatment options available. Your age and health should also be considered.

Treatment decisions arc complicated by shortcomings in both prognosis and treatment. Although your Gleason score and PSA level provide good guidelines, there is still no way to know for sure how rapidly your prostate cancer will progress. Nor are there any results available from clinical trials that directly compared different types of treatment for similar stages of disease to help you evaluate possible options.

Questions to Consider

Many questions will need answers.

  • Is your cancer truly confined to the prostate gland, or has it spread nearby - or even distant - parts of your body?

  • Is it aggressive or slow-growing?

  • What is your general health status?

  • Are you young enough so that even a slow-growing cancer might someday pose a threat?

  • Are you healthy enough for surgery?

  • Are you willing to risk serious, lifelong side effects to possibly reduce your chances of a cancer death?

  • How important is it for you, in your work or recreation, to maintain bladder or bowel control?

  • Or would you find it too worrisome to live with an untreated cancer, too stressful to face frequent monitoring?
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