In this video, Rob discusses his personal experience in working with his healthcare team to navigate approaches to prostate cancer.
You + Your Team
When you are diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer, it can be stressful – even overwhelming at times. You do not have to face this alone. In fact, you should not face it alone. Friends and family want to help, but may feel uncomfortable offering assistance at the risk of intruding. Let them know you welcome their support in building your own cancer support community. It can be invaluable on your journey.
Other important resources are available, and may include:
- Oncology social workers provide emotional support for you and your loved ones when the going gets tough. These professionals can be found through organizations like CancerCare and can help you cope with the challenges of living with advanced prostate cancer and guide you to resources.
- Support groups, both in-person and online, allow you to share your concerns with other men going through the same experience and provide insights and practical suggestions on ways to manage your situation. One resource for support groups can be found through the Us TOO International Prostate Cancer Education and Support Network.
- Advocacy groups help patients, their families and their caregivers navigate the cancer landscape. These groups work to ensure cancer patients receive appropriate and timely care, education and financial assistance, when needed. One resource is the Advocacy Connector, which helps connect patients and caregivers with advocacy resources and groups specific to their needs.
- Financial help is offered by a number of organizations to help cover cancer-related costs, such as transportation to treatment, or help needed around the home. CancerCare provides referrals to organizations that provide assistance.
You + Medical Team
Advanced prostate cancer is a complex disease that varies from patient to patient. Treatment plans are complex and may also vary depending on the specifics of your situation. For this reason, one doctor may not be able to provide all the information and expertise required for you to battle this disease. You may need a team of medical experts to help you manage your condition. Members of your medical team may include some or all of the following:
- Urologist: A doctor who specializes in diseases of the urinary and sex organs.
- Urologic oncologist: A doctor who diagnoses and treats cancers of the genitourinary system.
- Medical oncologist: A doctor who is trained in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer and specializes in the use of chemotherapy and other drugs to treat cancer.
- Radiation oncologist: A doctor who specializes in using radiation to treat cancer.
- Oncology and Urology Nurses: Nurses who work with their respective specialists. For example, a nurse can play a critical role by monitoring side effects from your treatments and reporting them to your doctor.
Rob on the benefits of connecting with others experiencing prostate cancer through support groups.
It is important to remember that, as the patient, this is your journey and you are in the driver’s seat. It is your role to decide what is most important to you about your care. Don’t be afraid or reluctant to ask questions of your medical team or other experts regarding your diagnosis or treatment plan. A second medical opinion may provide more information on a treatment that you are considering or one that you have not yet considered. Be persistent in your search for answers. Be vocal about how you’re feeling and what you need to feel more at ease. The best offense is a good defense, and a good defense is to be informed.
Talking about your journey may not be second nature to you, but it’s a critical part of managing your disease. Communicate with your loved ones, too. Keeping them informed of your treatment journey can help them better cope with the emotional impact your condition may have on them. By keeping your loved ones fully informed about your condition, they can be more emotionally ready to support you as your condition progresses.