Questions to ask your physician

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Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 184
   Posted 11/20/2008 4:08 PM (GMT -6)   
I haven't been around long but I see a number of new members with similar concerns when newly diagnosed with PC.  I work for a large health care plan and ran across what I think are helpful questions to ask your physician and ideas to help you get organized for your journey.  I hope some find this helpful.
What is the correct name of my cancer?
What stage is my cancer?
What treatments are available for this type of cancer?
What tests will I need and how do I prepare for these tests?
What will these tests tell me about my cancer?
Who will tell me the results of these tests and when will the information be available?
Can you get copies of my tests results for my records?
How many patients with this type of cancer do you treat each year?
What other ohysicians will be involved in my care?
If you are interested in a second opinion, ask your physicisn if he / she is willing to work with other physicians or refer you to other physicians to develop a treatment plan.
Is surgery an appropriate treatment options for my type of cancer?
What will surgery involve?
How long will it take for me to recover from surgery?
Will surgery remove my entire tumor and cire my cancer? If not what will surgery do for me?
Will I be able to return to normal functioning and normal activities after surgery?
What are short and long term effects of the surgery?
What are possible complications of the surgery?
Are there other options besides surgery?
Is chemotherapy an appropriate option for treating my cancer?
How many patients have you treated with this protocol and what are the results?
What is my pronosis with this treatment option?
Are other options available to me?
What options are available to treat side effects?
How will you know if this treatment plan is working?
What happens if the cancer does not respond to this treatment?
Is radiation an appropriate option for me?
Are there any clinical trials being done that I should consider?
Am I a good candidate for a clinical trial?
What do you recommend for followup care after treatment?
How long will I be monitored after I receive treatment / surgery?
When do I need to call you?
What are the chances of recurrence or metastasis?
Organize a notebook into several sections and take it woth you to all of your appointments.  Write down your appointments, physician names and phone numbers.  Write down your questions when you think of them.  Take a friend or family member to your dr visits to take notes.  Kepp copies of lab results.

Age 50
Pre - Op PSA, 4.3
Gleason 3+4=7
Stage T1C
da Vinci Prostatectomy 8/1/08
No issues with incontinence or ED since day 1 after catheter removal
First post op PSA 11/11/08, 0.00

Post Edited (coxjajb) : 11/20/2008 3:01:23 PM (GMT-7)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2006
Total Posts : 1732
   Posted 11/20/2008 6:41 PM (GMT -6)   
Whew..I was worried for a moment thinking this is the take with list for a first visit with the specialist.
Great list. Looks like it covers just about everything. Just don't scare some poor Doc off right away by handing him the whole list. Sneak em in gradually ...kinda like peas! :>)


Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 270
   Posted 11/21/2008 8:29 AM (GMT -6)   
For anyone else looking at this interaction - here is the link furnished by James C. (moderator) to similar information:

Age 61 (now 62)
Original data - pre-operation
PSA: 5.1
T1C clinical diagnosis, Needle biopsy - 10 cores, Gleason 7 = 3+4 in 1 core (40%), 7 cores Gleason 6 = 3+3 ranging from 5% to 12%
All scans negative
Lupron administered 4/9/2008 for 4 months (with idea I would undergo external beam radiation followed by seed implants - then I changed my mind).
Robotic DiVinci surgery - Dr. Fagin (Austin) May 19th
Post operative - pathology
pT2c NX MX
Gleason 3+4
Margins - negative
Extraprostatic extension - negative
seminal vesicle invasion - uninvolved
1st Post PSA <.04
2nd Post PSA <.1 10/30/2008

Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2008
Total Posts : 276
   Posted 11/21/2008 9:42 AM (GMT -6)   
My surgeon shared any info I asked, he had data from all of his surgeries with respect to continence recovery, return of potency, and recurrence. You have many great questions in your list, one I particularly wanted to know was "How many robotic surgeries have your performed?", to which he was glad I asked, BTW, it was over 1000, to which I was glad to hear!!

46 you when diagnosed, now 48
Pre-Op PSA 9.9
1 of 12 cores positive, Gleason 3+3
DaVinci on 9/5/2007
Post-Op Gleason 3+6, Negative Nodes and Margins
Less than 1% of prostate involved with CA
3 Month PSA 0.01, 6 Month PSA 0.01, 9 Month PSA 0.01
One Year PSA 0.01
Incontinence resolved 9/15/2007, one day after cath removal
ED showing significant improvement.
Occasional Success with Oral Meds
Success with BiMix

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