Decision Making In the Treatment of Prostate Cancer
A prostate cancer diagnosis can be hard on your mental, physical and emotional well-being. However, the good news is that it is often curable.
Making the relevant prostate cancer treatment choice may not be simple at first. This is because every individual’s case varies, and a standard course of treatment does not exist. However, consulting your healthcare professional can help you make the right choice for you.
What Factors Should You Consider to Make a Decision?
To reach a conclusion about your treatment course, you must consider the following factors:
- Your age.
- Expected life span.
- Possible side effects.
- Your willingness towards a certain type of treatment.
- Any additional health conditions you have.
- Most importantly, the grade and stage of your cancer.
How Quickly Should You Make a Decision?
Even though you will feel like reaching a conclusion quickly, given that you would not want to delay your treatment, it is still recommended that you give yourself enough time. Do not hesitate to ask your physician any questions if there is anything you are unsure about.
Depending on the case's stage and complexity, if time allows, go for a second opinion. A second opinion may help strengthen your own beliefs and help you be confident in your treatment choice.
What Are Decision-Making Aids?
Healthcare professionals use decision-making aids to involve patients in the decision-making process. They show the benefits and risks associated with a treatment plan.
A decision is good if it has the elements of:
- Minimum to no regret about the future.
- Compatibility with the patient’s values and beliefs.
Image Courtesy: Tonry, C., Finn, S., Armstrong, J. et al., CC BY 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
What Tools Do Clinicians Use to Help In Decision Making?
Clinicians may use risk calculators called nomograms to give patients a tentative risk percentage of a treatment’s outcome. Even though they are useful, they don’t necessarily consider the complexities of the patient’s decision. Usually, decision-making aids are used to assist patients if there are multiple reasonable options with their own risks, benefits, and side effects.
factors to consider
What Factors Can Affect Prostate Cancer Treatment Choice?
Choosing the right professional for unbiased advice can be a huge challenge. Sometimes, radiation oncologists and urologists' advice about potential prostate cancer treatments may be biased towards their own area of expertise. Therefore, shared decision-making between patient and physician may not always work out.
Ideally, the selection of treatment should be based on the costs, benefits, harms, and inconveniences compared to the alternative treatment. However, in reality, the decisions are quite subjective, and the patient’s lack of knowledge can impact their choice.
factors that affect
The following factors can affect the treatment choice of patients:
- Opinion of the family physician
- Personal contact with friends and family who were previously diagnosed with prostate cancer.
- Current health condition.
- Sexual functioning
In conclusion, choosing the right form of treatment is in your hands more than your physician’s. Therefore, do not shy away from asking questions, using the internet for research, taking second opinions, weighing the costs and benefits and most importantly, self consent.
Disclaimer: This blog post is provided for informational purposes and is not intended to replace the guidance of your personal physician. Please consult a medical professional if you have any concerns after reading this or other blog posts on this website.