Choosing a prostate cancer treatment

older man at doctor

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Tips to help you, if you’re given a choice of treatments

Making a treatment decision

Many men may find it stressful having to choose between treatment options, and worry that they will choose the wrong one. Very often there are several different treatments for prostate cancer that are all equally good. There is no right or wrong treatment, so it’s up to you to decide which treatment suits you and your lifestyle the best.

Tips to help you decide

  1. List your treatment options and read and ask questions about them.
  2. Ask to talk to a urologist and a radiation oncologist before you make up your mind.
  3. Ask as many questions as you can in the hospital until you’re sure you have enough information. Your doctors and nurses will support you in making a decision.
  4. Think about the pros and cons for each treatment option. 

    - Would I feel anxious with active surveillance?
    - How long does this treatment take?
    - Will I have to stay in hospital?
    - What is the recovery period?
    - What are the side-effects? E.g. sexual side effects, urinary side-effects.
    - How will those side-effects change my daily life?
    - How many times will I need to go to hospital?
    - How far will I have to travel for treatment?
    - How long will I need to take off work?
    - Will it affect my fertility?

  5. Ask yourself how important these points are to you (individually) and to your family. We have a decision aid sheet (below) you can print out and fill in. 
  6. Write down what is the most important goal for your treatment. 
  7. Talk to your family about the pros and cons. 
  8. Talk to other men who have received these treatments and find out about their experiences and how they managed any side-effects. The Irish Cancer Society can put you in touch with a trained Survivor Support volunteer who has been through a prostate cancer diagnosis.  For more information contact our Support Line on 1800 200 700. You could also join our online community.
  9. Give yourself time to make your decision.
  10. Call our Support Line 1800 200 700, email supportline@irishcancer.ie or call into a Daffodil Centre if you need extra information and support from one of our cancer nurses.
decision aid sheet for prostate cancer treatments
Decision aid tool
A printable decision aid sheet to help men think about which prostate cancer treatment is best for them

Give yourself time

Most men need to have a number of discussions in order to understand the various treatment options and their possible side-effects. If you don’t feel comfortable making a decision, your consultant will advise you.

What is a nomogram?

A nomogram is a tool used by doctors to help them and their patients predict the success of a particular treatment or the probability of remaining cancer free after certain treatments.

It uses different features of the cancer like PSA, Gleason grade and stage as well as other prostate biopsy details to make predictions. The predictions are based on the past experiences of many thousands of patients, usually drawn from hospitals based in the USA.

Nomograms can be complicated and are not always reliable. Talk to your doctor if you want to use an online predictive tool to help guide you in your decision making. 

For more information

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1800 200 700

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