Newly Diagnosed with Prostate Cancer: What to Expect
If your doctor has told you that you have prostate cancer, you many have a lot of questions. Can I be cured? What kinds of treatment would be best for me to help me get well? Will it hurt? How long will treatment take? How much will it cost? How will my life change while I’m being treated and after the treatment ends? These are all normal questions. If you have more questions, ask your doctor or nurse to help you. It is always best to be open and honest with them. That way, they can help you decide what the best treatment for you is.
Now that you have been diagnosed with prostate cancer, you are facing some critical decisions about your treatment plan. This section may help you sort out the massive amount of available information and help you ask relevant questions of your doctors. It may help you eliminate options that are not right for you.
Getting a Second Opinion with Advanced Urology Associates
If you’ve been diagnosed somewhere besides Advanced Urology, we suggest you get a second opinion with us. It’s an easy process that we help you with the entire way through. Here are some of the steps we advise you take in doing so. Getting a second opinion is important and we believe, like many, that your first choice for a second opinion should be with Advanced Urology Associates.
Managing the Road to Recovery
If you or someone you love has recently been diagnosed with cancer, this section is designed to support you.
Receiving the news that you have prostate cancer is overwhelming. You may feel anxious, depressed, frustrated, and angry. It is important to remember you are not alone, there are many resources and people to support you.
Advanced Urology Associates is here to accompany you on your journey and committed to providing patients with the best treatment to help ensure they can live a healthy and fulfilling life.
- Almost 100% of men diagnosed with prostate cancer are still alive in 5 years*.
- Over 90% of prostate cancer cases are found while the cancer is still either local or regional, and nearly 100% of these men are still alive 5 years after being diagnosed.
- In cases where the cancer has spread to distant parts of the body, 34% survive 5 years.
- After 10 years, about 98% of men diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer are still alive*, but only 17.6% of those diagnosed with advanced-stage prostate cancer survive 10 years*.
*not including those who died from other causes.
At The Prostate Cancer Center, we are dedicated to providing state-of-the-art radiation therapy in a supportive environment. We focus on delivering the best treatment as well as on patients’ overall well-being, so they can heal faster and get back to their lives.
Prostate Cancer Treatment Options
The treatments for prostate cancer can be divided into those that are intended to cure your cancer (definitive therapies) and those that are palliative, intended to slow down the growth of the prostate cancer and treat its symptoms.
Planning, Scheduling and Receiving Prostate Cancer Treatment
After a physical exam and a review of your medical history and test results, your doctor will pinpoint the treatment area. In a process call simulation, you will be asked to lie still on a table while the radiation therapist uses a special diagnostic x-ray machine to define your treatment field (also called treatment port). This is the exact place on your body where the radiation will be aimed.
To ensure the radiation beam is aimed correctly, special molds or casts of parts of your body will be made to help you remain still during your treatment. A radiation therapist will mark the field with semi-permanent ink. These marks will be used to properly align you on the treatment table during your course of therapy. The marks will fade away over time, but they need to remain until your treatment is completed. Avoid using soap or scrubbing these marks. Sometimes the area will be marked with permanent dots like a tattoo.
By using the information from the simulation, other tests, and your medical background, your doctor will decide how much radiation is needed, how it will be given, and how many treatments you should have. The CT images are used by your medical team to create a personalized treatment plan specifically for you. The treatment plan will provide important details, including the exact dose of photons you need to target your tumor with precision.
Scheduling Your Therapy Sessions
Once your personal treatment plan is complete, a radiation therapist from your team will contact you. He or she will tell you how many treatments your doctor has prescribed and schedule your first appointment for radiation therapy.
Radiation therapy IMRT treatments to the prostate are given 5 days a week for 7 to 9 weeks. Weekend rest breaks allow normal cells to recover. But the total dose of radiation and the number of treatments you need depends on:
- The size and location of your cancer
- The type of cancer
- Your general health
- Any other treatments you are receiving
IMRT Radiation treatments are painless. The experience is just like having a regular x-ray taken. The treatment takes only a few minutes; but each session may last 15 to 30 minutes because of the time it takes to set up the equipment and place you in the correct position.
You will lie on a treatment table positioned under the radiation machine. Since radiation therapy is so precise, you must be in a very specific, predetermined position to ensure the radiation beam hits the target directly. You will be asked to lie still during the set-up process and while the beam is on.
You do not have to hold your breath- just breathe normally. Once you are in the correct position, the radiation therapist will go into a nearby room to turn on the machine and watch you on a TV monitor. You will be able to talk with the therapist over an intercom.
During the actual treatment, you will not feel or see the radiation beam. It is invisible. The radiation therapy machine will make clicking and whirring noises and sometimes sound like a vacuum cleaner as it moves to aim at the treatment area from different angles. These sounds usually go unnoticed by patients after a few treatment sessions. The radiation therapist controls the movement and checks to be sure it is working properly. If you are concerned about anything that happens in the treatment room, ask your therapist to explain. If you feel ill or uncomfortable during the treatment, tell your therapist at once. The machine can be stopped at any time.
We’re dedicated to making your treatments as comfortable as possible for you. Patients are encouraged to let us know their favorite music or bring in their own CDs. We can arrange to have it playing for you during your individual treatment sessions.
After Prostate Cancer Treatment and Support
After Treatment: Follow-Up Care
We are dedicated to you while you are undergoing treatments and after your completion. We are committed to help you return to a normal life as soon as possible. After your radiation therapy ends, you will need regular doctor visits to check your progress and help you deal with any problems that arise. This phase of your treatment is called follow-up care. Your follow-up care will include checking the results of your treatment, as well as appointments with your urologist.
Questions you may want to ask your doctor after radiation therapy:
- When can I go back to my normal activity?
- How often will my follow-up appointments be scheduled?
- Which tests will be done and why?
- Do I need to continue changes in my diet?
- When can I resume sexual activity?
Getting Support: Having Cancer is Hard. Finding Help Isn’t.
No matter what type of treatment you choose, life with prostate cancer can be a challenge. Your goal should be to live as normal a life as possible. We know the most advanced technology available is nothing without a caring staff to help make it all possible.
That is why Advanced Urology Associates is here to help you achieve this goal and to help you cope with any physical and emotional issues that result from treatment. Patients like you are our primary focus. Everything we do is designed to support you on your journey toward healing.
Us TOO Support Group: Extra Support When You Need it Most
It may not be an easy road, but you are never alone. As you progress along your journey, you may find the need for multiple interventions for support. Us TOO Prostate Cancer Education and Support Network is a not-for-profit organization started 1990 by prostate cancer survivors to serve prostate cancer patients and their families.
Us TOO is here for you; our goal is to provide support for you and your loved ones, information to illuminate your decisions, and a safe place for you to share and learn. You are not alone. At The Prostate Cancer Center, we understand and we care.
The Joliet Us TOO Chapter, sponsored by Advanced Urology Associates meets the 3rd Wednesday of every Month. Our meetings provide emotional support and unbiased information in areas related to prostate cancer. Meetings are free and open to all men, their partners, family, friends, and health professionals interested in prostate cancer.
Questions About Prostate Cancer or Treatments?
If you have recently been diagnosed with prostate cancer and have questions about treatments at Advanced Urology Associates, please call 815.409.4930 or request an appointment today.