You’ve spent the last week or two anxiously awaiting results from your prostate biopsy and you receive the news — cancerous cells were found. While there’s little good news to be found in any cancer diagnosis, the fact is that more men die with a prostate cancer diagnosis rather than from this diagnosis. This is due in large part to early detection, new treatments, and the slow progression of the disease.
At our Houston practice, Dr. Robert Cornell specializes in prostate cancer, helping our patients find solutions that best fit their unique needs. And know that there are solutions, which include everything from active surveillance to more aggressive treatments. Ultimately, our goal is to find a protocol that you’re comfortable with and one which gives you the best chances of successfully gaining the upper hand on the disease.
If you’ve received a prostate cancer diagnosis, here’s what you need to know.
Prostate cancer by the numbers
While we know that your health is not a game of numbers, we feel it’s important to first provide you with a bigger picture when it comes to prostate cancer, because the numbers are very much in your favor. One in nine men in the United States will receive a prostate cancer diagnosis, and experts predict this number will rise to one in five thanks to an aging population.
Despite this prevalence, the American Cancer Society reports that most men who are diagnosed with the disease do not die from it, as witnessed by the 3.1+ million prostate cancer survivors in the US today.
These encouraging numbers stem from several factors, namely that most prostate cancers aren’t terribly aggressive, and we’re also identifying the disease in its earliest stages, allowing us to take evasive action.
Taking action in the early stages or not
When faced with a cancer diagnosis, your first thought may be to get rid of it by any means necessary. With prostate cancer, however, you can usually opt to go in one of two directions: Seek treatment or actively monitor the disease — assuming the cancer is confined to your prostate and hasn’t spread.
When we find cancerous cells, it’s important to understand that they didn’t just suddenly appear. They may have been there for quite some time. Most prostate cancers that are confined to your prostate are slow-growing and may never pose a problem, which makes active surveillance a viable option.
We can also take proactive steps to rid your prostate of the cancerous cells through various treatments, such as radiation and surgery. These treatments are invasive and can cause side effects, which need to be considered in your decision. But they can provide you with valuable peace of mind.
When you should take action
To this point we’ve discussed prostate cancer that hasn’t spread or doesn’t show any signs of becoming aggressive. If we do find that your prostate cancer is in the later stages of the disease, treatment will likely be necessary, and we tailor a plan to meet your needs and goals.
Your life, your choice
The decision to treat your prostate cancer is one that only you can make. Our mission is to ensure that you have all the information you need to make an informed decision. Your age and your health should certainly play a role in your decision-making as invasive treatments for an 80-year-old man are far riskier than in a 50-year-old man.
Your quality of life is important when considering whether to treat your prostate cancer, and our goal is to guide you through this diagnosis with this factor top of mind.
To learn more about next steps after a prostate cancer diagnosis, please call us at 281-607-5300 or use our online booking tool to set up an appointment.