“I urge newly diagnosed men to see a range of specialists before selecting treatment. After talking to a urologist, they should make independent appointments with a radiation oncologist, a medical oncologist, and a brachytherapist to ensure that they become fully informed of all available [prostate cancer treatment options].” – Steve Kurtzman, MD
It cannot be shared often or widely enough: too many men aren’t being informed by their clinicians about ALL of their prostate cancer treatment options. Amidst confusion surrounding screening guidelines, newly published, confusing long-term study data and, too often, financial interests that do not align with patients’ best interests, we must continue to be clear in our message to men diagnosed with prostate cancer and their loved ones; do all you can to know about every treatment option available.
We would like to thank our colleague Dr. Steve Kurtzman and the Prostate Cancer Research Institute for helping to spread the word. From the December 6, 2018 PCRI Prostate Digest:
“Both urologists and radiation oncologists offer several treatments and very often give patients conflicting information, further clouding the decision making process. Despite this, it is still critical that patients seek out physicians with experience in various treatment modalities to hear the pros and cons of any particular option. The treatment(s) they choose will impact them for the rest of their lives. Treatment outcomes differ significantly with regard to cure rates, short term side effects, and risks of long term complications.
“Unfortunately, it falls on the patient to make sure they are seeing all the specialists they need to be fully informed. To make the best decision, men should always get a second and probably a third opinion. Opinions should come from physicians with varied expertise: a urologist (surgeon), radiation oncologist, medical oncologist, and a brachytherapist (a physician who specializes in delivering radioactive seeds placed directly into the prostate).”
Dr. Kurtzman goes on to list several questions men with prostate cancer need to ask their physicians and further writes, “I urge newly diagnosed men to see a range of specialists before selecting treatment. After talking to a urologist, they should make independent appointments with a radiation oncologist, a medical oncologist, and a brachytherapist to ensure that they become fully informed of all options available for treatment. Patients should ask their physicians to justify their recommendations based on existing scientific literature. Patients should never accept statements like, ‘I’m a surgeon/radiation oncologist, so of course, I recommend prostatectomy/external beam radiation.’ Such statements are meaningless, and all treatment recommendations should be backed up with data showing both cure rates and complication incidences. Don’t be afraid to ask your doctor to support his recommendations!
Please read and share the entirety of Dr. Kurtzman’s piece as published by the Prostate Cancer Institute. It is up to you and your family to know all of your prostate cancer treatment options.