Prostate Cancer: What You Need to Know Part 2!

dingaan-with-wife

Sincere condolences to Mr. Dingaan’s family as he passed away from prostate cancer 2 weeks ago. He is one of the patients (pictured left with his wife) who we recently started supporting with pain medications.

by Francis Nyachowe, ECCT Field Officer

Prostate cancer is becoming increasingly common amongst men in Zimbabwe and here at ECCT, we thought we should give you some more information about it. Knowledge is power…and we continue with Part 2 of our information series this week.

To view Part 1 on what prostate cancer is…click here now!

Preparing for your appointment

dingaan-getting-treatment

The late Mr. Dingaan receiving treatment for his prostate cancer.

If you have signs or symptoms that worry you, start by seeing your family doctor or a general practitioner.

If your doctor suspects you may have a problem with your prostate, you may be referred to a urinary tract specialist (urologist). If you’re diagnosed with prostate cancer, you may be referred to a cancer specialist (oncologist) or a specialist who uses radiation therapy to treat cancer (radiation oncologist).

Because appointments can be brief, and because there’s often a lot of ground to cover, it’s a good idea to be prepared. Here’s some information to help you get ready and what to expect from your doctor.

 What you can do

prosper-mai-virimayi-nov

1 of the ECCT Volunteers Prosper (right) handing over food hampers to the mother of 1 of our cancer patients, Virimayi – who passed away a few years ago.

  • Be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions.At the time you make the appointment, be sure to ask if there’s anything you need to do in advance, such as restrict your diet.
  • Write down any symptoms you’re experiencing,including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
  • Write down key personal information,including any major stresses or recent life changes.
  • Make a list of all medications,vitamins or supplements that you’re taking.
  • Consider taking a family member or friend along. Sometimes it can be difficult to remember all the information provided during an appointment. Someone who accompanies you may remember something that you missed or forgot.
  • Write down questions to askyour doctor.

Your time with your doctor is limited, so preparing a list of questions can help you make the most of your time together. List your questions from most important to least important in case time runs out. For prostate cancer, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:

  • Do I have prostate cancer?
  • How large is my prostate cancer?
  • Has my prostate cancer spread beyond my prostate?
  • What is my Gleason score?
  • What is my prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level?
  • Will I need more tests?
  • What are my treatment options?
  • Is there one treatment option you think is best for me?
  • Do I need cancer treatment right away, or is it possible to wait and see if the cancer grows?
  • What are the potential side effects of each treatment?
  • What is the chance that my prostate cancer will be cured with treatment?
  • If you had a friend or family member in my situation, what would you recommend?
  • Should I see a specialist? What will that cost, and will my insurance cover it?
  • Are there brochures or other printed material that I can take with me? What websites do you recommend?

In addition to the questions that you’ve prepared to ask your doctor, don’t hesitate to ask other questions during your appointment.

 What to expect from your doctor

posh-prosper-mai-virimayi-nov

1 of the ECCT Volunteers Prosper (right) handing over food hampers to the mother of 1 of our cancer patients, Virimayi – who passed away a few years ago.

Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Being ready to answer them may allow more time later to cover other points you want to address. Your doctor may ask:

  • When did you first begin experiencing symptoms?
  • Have your symptoms been continuous or occasional?
  • How severe are your symptoms?
  • What, if anything, seems to improve your symptoms?
  • What, if anything, appears to worsen your symptoms?

In the next blog on prostate cancer, we will delve into the tests for prostate cancer and the treatment options.

 To see more of our work, join our Community on Facebook by clicking here now.

Help us support our patients by visiting our website by clicking here now. 

 

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