Be aware that the usual or average case of PCa is a slow growing cancer and yes you have plenty of time to study it up and decide if and when and what type of treatment you may have. First thing you may encounter is biopsies from the prostate gland, you can get an local anesthetic to avoid the stinging pain that otherwise you will feel during the process. Probably you will get 12 needle biopsies, perhaps more, 6 is a less useful sampling. The biopsy taken is somewhat definitive as to what is found (small sampling) and experts may vary some on rating the cancer via Gleason score, percentage found, type of prostate cancer (there are variations). This pathology is put into a report, demand that your doctor give one to you (by law you are intitled in the USA), then use that information to find out what level of cancer is presented= get to understand the language of pathology or have some others fill you in on some of that. This is still not totally definitive as to what you could have in your body, as the needle in a haystack is what a biopsy sampling actually is, you can also have various grades of cancer (different Gleason scores) found within your gland. I had 3 different Gleason scores and had 12 of 12 positive biopsies with high percentage of cancer found in all of them, it was kind of equally spread out on both sides of the gland in similar biopsy fashion. Very daunting numbers to look at and knew zero on this when diagnosed at age 52.
Went to 2 leading surgeons I found out about, and got 2 totally different prognosis's and opinions. Doc 'A' "curative and 1% chance of incontenence" (how did he know???), doc "B" after examining my stats and records "I will not do surgery on you" (how did he know???) Well after that I got about 6 more opinions from various types of protocols/docs and they confirmed doc "B" as a more correct opinion, although they would like to sell me their treatment/protocol. Interestingly I fired a couple of docs and cancelled a radiation treatment a day or so before it was to begin, because I was not told total truths. Best of all insurance company paid for everything, even firing of docs, this exceeded my expectations.
Suggestions for newly diagnosed: get impowered and do not be passive about your treatments, I saw bias, agendas and even falsehood (lying). Do not let anyone rush you into a particular treatment, they will try and convince you that you don't have time or only they could cure you. (bull)
Road map: use internet, books, tapes, join support groups (local or otherwise), get newletters like (Paact Newsletter), get the book "A Primer on Prostate Cancer-the empowered patients guide", find websites like www.prostate-help.org
to find out about
questions, answers, other case histories (actual people that you can even contact). Learn all you can and it will help you decide upon your course of action, only you have to live with the treatments, side effects, maintenance etc. The world of PCa is unreal at every turn: diagnose, biopsies, protocols, scans, therapies. Nothing is totally definitive with 100% accuracy, the docs in fact never know "they got it all", never know if they "see it all" (scans are far from definitive and reliable enough). Don't believe me? The failure rates on surgery and other PCa protocols are note worthy(long run 30-34% for surgery), and not everyone is a candidate for successful surgery which hopefully the doc would reveal to some patients who are very high risk for curative surgery, atleast let the patient decide if "debulking" the cancer via removal is worth his considerations and risks.
All treatments can have side effects or changes to your life, manhood etc., hopefully you are told about such up front before your gland is: removed, fried, cooked, frozen or whatever.
I will post another thing on hormone related therapies which is another avenue for considerations.
The more factual truth we are given, the better peace of mind you will have after the dust settles.
"Youth is wasted on the young"-W.C. Fields