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Meeting Your Healthcare Team

In this video, Todd discusses the importance of finding and building a strong relationship with the right advanced prostate cancer healthcare team.

You + Your Team

When you are diagnosed with 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.

Below are some links to help you get started on building the right support team.

  • 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. A couple of resources for support groups can be found through the Us TOO International Prostate Cancer Education and Support Network, and the ZERO MENtor Peer-to-Peer program.
  • 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 and ZERO360 provide referrals to organizations that provide assistance.
 
Todd shares his personal experience with support groups for men with advanced prostate cancer, and how developing valuable relationships with other prostate cancer survivors helped him stay positive through tough times.
 

You + Medical Team

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 nurse: A nurse who specializes in treating and caring for people who have cancer.
  • Urology nurse: A nurse working with urologists and utilizing his or her medical expertise and training related to the male reproductive system and the urinary areas of men and women.

Your Role

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.