You've been diagnosed with prostate cancer - now what?

You've been diagnosed with prostate cancer - now what?

By Robert M. Meier, MD
Radiation Oncology Medical Director, Swedish Radiosurgery Center

Almost daily there are new recommendations for how to treat prostate cancer and an equal number of controversies surrounding the recommendations. What is a man to do when faced with the words, “you have prostate cancer”?

The good news is that there are many proven options to consider; but how do you choose the best one for you? The decision can be daunting and the controversies swirling in the news only increase the confusion when wading through the information. You may be considering:

  • Active surveillance (watchful waiting) is an option for those who want to closely monitor their cancer over short intervals. Intervention is considered if the cancer grows quickly, PSA scores increase or other situations arise warranting a more aggressive treatment plan.

  • Surgical options are available and with the advances in robotic technologies, the procedure is less invasive than in the past, recovery times are reduced and fewer side effects are reported. 

  • Radiation options are also available and treat the cancer either with external radiation beams or implanted radioactive seeds.

    • CyberKnife Radiosurgery uses robotic technology to track the prostate in real time and delivers high doses of radiation with pinpoint accuracy. This is an outpatient procedure where the patient comes to the center for five, one hour sessions over the course of one week. Long term side effects are rare and cancer free survival rates are excellent. (You can learn more here.)

    • Seed Implantation is another method of delivering radiation to treat prostate cancer. With this option, the radiation is delivered internally via tiny radioactive seeds which are implanted into the prostate. This too is an outpatient procedure and long term results are excellent and side effects are few. 

As a radiation oncologist specializing in treating prostate cancer, I understand the anxiety and fear that comes with this diagnosis and appreciate the challenges patients face when deciding if and how to proceed with treatment. Several patients have asked me to speak to their communities so I have developed a presentation to help answer some of these questions and shed light on the controversies. In honor of Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, Swedish Community Education is hosting this presentation for our community in Seattle.

Please join me as I present this information and ask your questions on September 13th from 6-8pm at the Swedish Cherry Hill Campus. To register or read more about this complimentary class, click here .

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