Receiving a cancer diagnosis is one of the most frightening experiences anyone can have. It’s often difficult to process the news without immediately pondering your mortality — even if you’re diagnosed with prostate cancer, which when treated appropriately, has a five-year survival rate of nearly 100 percent.
Everyone handles the news of a cancer diagnosis differently, but regardless of your coping mechanisms, we recommend everyone take certain steps to make this difficult and potentially confusing period easier.
Get a Second Opinion
Even if you are completely confident in your doctor and his or her diagnostic abilities, always seek a second opinion. A second physician may well corroborate the diagnosis, or he or she could notice something your doctor overlooked, or have a different interpretation of the results. Getting another perspective will help you feel more confident in your course of treatment and that you are well informed.
Explore Your Treatment Options
When you have prostate cancer, you have a number of cancer treatment options. Your doctor may recommend a course of action, but do some research and ask questions to determine all of your options so you can make an informed choice. We recommend using caution when using the Internet for research. Your case is unique, and just because someone else had a particular experience with a treatment plan does not mean your results will be the same. Use your research as a springboard for conversations with your health care team at the Pasadena CyberKnife Center.
Build a Support System
We met some patients who are reluctant to keep friends and family in the loop about their diagnosis for fear of unnecessarily worrying or burdening them. However, your loved ones can be a good source of help and support during your treatment; in fact, studies show those patients who have a good support system often have better outcomes than those who do not.
Make Lifestyle Changes
Successfully overcoming prostate cancer means maintaining overall good health. Your treatment will also be more effective if you are healthy and strong to begin with. After your diagnosis, make staying healthy a priority by eating a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables, lean protein and whole grains, getting plenty of sleep, exercising and reducing stress. Your doctor will work with you to identify other lifestyle changes that will help keep you in good health during and after treatment.
Ask Questions and Take Notes
A cancer diagnosis is a life-changing event, and no one expects you will understand every aspect of your disease and treatment plan. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, no matter how silly or inconsequential you believe them to be. This is your life and your body, and you have a right to be informed. Take notes during your conversations with health care providers, and jot down questions when you think of them. By asking questions and staying informed, you will feel more in control of your condition and your recovery.
When you receive your cancer diagnosis, your health care provider will most likely direct you toward resources to help you understand and cope with your condition. Take advantage of those resources and follow these steps, and it won’t be long before your prostate cancer will be something that happened in the past. Contact us today to schedule a consult with one of our team specialists.