When I was first diagnosed I had the opportunity to speak with another survivor over the phone. He had previously been a spokesman for the american cancer society for a region of the country. This guy knew his stuff--knew the disease from firsthand experience, knew the treatment options, knew the side effects. He advised me--"you've got to basically get yourself a masters degree in biology and medicine, on your own. You've got to study the disease, the treatment options and risks until YOU are confident about your choice of treatment. And once you make your decision, you've got to never look back. So get to the point where you can make your decision with confidence..."
Jayman's counsel is right on. Read, read, read. Books, (the one by Scardino is excellent, also the one published by the american cancer society, and I also really liked the one "what your doctor may not tell you about prostate cancer". Regarding books, I looked for books which were published in the last year or two. Even now, treatment options have evolved to where I have found NO book to be completely up to date. That's what the internet and this board are for. Even Scardino, who is one of the foremost cancer doctors in the world, did not write extensively about the da vinci robotic surgery option. At the time he was putting pen to paper (2004) to get his book published in 2005, there had not been a lot of widespread experience with the da vinci. That situation has now changed and there are a lot of centers around the country where experienced doctors are doing good work. I'm tending to lean towards the da vinci, personally, and I agree with Jay's reasons for doing so.
Any of the treatment options will produce fairly excellent results, if practiced by a top doctor. And any will produce discouraging side effects, if performed by dr. joe average, from smalltown USA, who doesn't see much prostate cancer or have very many opportunities to do a surgery or other treatment. My guess is that you will want to find a doctor who is doing at least 3-4 procedures a week, 50 weeks a year. and some of the very top guys are doing many, many more than that. IMHO this ability to do a procedure quickly does not imply carelessness, it suggests great skill and experience, so there is minimal waste of time and motion. When you hear that a surgery took, say, four hours, well that is either an unusually complicated case or a comparitively inexperienced doctor. And, all doctors started out as inexperienced. But you want to look at yourself as the most important patient in the world, not someones 8th or 30th or 60th patient for their "practice". You want somebody who has AT LEAST 200 procedures under their belt but probably more like 1000+.
I could ramble, but I think the main thing is to: A) read all the links, especially yananow. B) take your time and look through many of the old threads on this board. They are excellent and this board is the best place I know where people ask ANY question and get STRAIGHT answers, as graphic as it needs to be.
Best wishes, my friend.
PSA 3.76, Gleason 6, T1c, scans negative
psa doubling time 35 months
Still researching and deciding treatment options. Leaning towards da vinci robotic.