As Prostate Cancer Awareness Month Begins, Seven Tips From a Leading Urologist

Sep 01, 2011, 11:59 ET from Oxford University Press

NEW YORK, Sept. 1, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, a time to remember the men who have fought the disease and been lost to us.  But as medical techniques advance and doctors are able to offer a new lease on life to those afflicted, a growing number of men are facing a future they didn't necessarily expect – along with complications they never considered.

For most men who get prostate cancer, the immediate battle takes up all of their time and energy.  Many don't know what questions to ask about what life might be like should they survive.  Arnold Melman, one of the nation's leading urologists, is on a mission to change that.  His book AFTER PROSTATE CANCER: A What-Comes-Next Guide to a Safe and Informed Recovery (9780195399660, Oxford University Press, $19.95) is aimed at the men who survive, along with the friends and family who are there to support them.

In observance of Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, Dr. Melman offers seven useful tips for anyone who has been recently diagnosed with, is currently fighting, or recently beat prostate cancer.  Knowing how to handle the next stage of life is important, and these tips are the best way to navigate the rough waters ahead.

Dr. Melman's Tips for What Comes Next

  1. When you return to the Urologist's office to discuss the biopsy bring someone with you to listen.  It should be your wife, close relative or friend.  Usually, if the biopsy result shows cancer most people stop listening thereafter and cannot recall what is said about treatment options.  
  2. The diagnosis of prostate cancer is not a death sentence.  Most men do very well and live long, productive lives.  
  3. Take your time in making a decision about treatment.  It's okay to take weeks, not days, to decide.
  4. The decision about what to do is dependent upon your age and medical condition at diagnosis.
  5. The two most common complications of  surgical therapy and radiation are erectile dysfunction (ED) and urinary symptoms (either frequency or stress incontinence).  If they do occur they are treatable with existing and future therapies.   They are not a reason to decline treatment for the cancer.
  6. After treatment, keep up communication with your wife, partner, close friends, or cancer groups about your concerns and issues related to having the disease.
  7. Make return visits with your treating doctor.  If he does not ask, tell him what concerns or worries you.

For a more intricate plan, pick up Arnold Melman and Rosemary Newnham's AFTER PROSTATE CANCER: A What-Comes-Next Guide to a Safe and Informed Recovery.  Blue ribbon culture is a growing phenomenon, but it begins with the realization that it's okay to talk about this very private disease.  This September, don't just do the brave thing and get checked – do the smart thing and know what to ask.

SOURCE Oxford University Press