Getting a diagnosis of advanced stage cancer can be overwhelming. But lots of different resources and professionals are available to help you along the way.
In addition to your team of doctors, there are people who can help you talk about other concerns.
Read on to find out who is likely to be on your care team and where to get different treatment questions answered, as well as how to reach out for emotional support.
A urologist is a doctor who specializes in treating diseases and conditions of the urinary system and male reproductive system. This is probably the doctor who gave you your first diagnosis.
They’ll be involved throughout the course of your treatment and can answer questions about how the prostate functions, and how to handle complications with your urinary tract and bladder.
Some urologists have had extra training to treat cancer. This is called a urologic oncologist. They can perform surgeries and supervise treatment of prostate cancer.
This doctor specializes in cancer treatments. You will see a medical oncologist to do tests and screenings to find out what stage your cancer is in. The oncologist will also recommend a treatment plan, which can include chemotherapy, hormone therapy, or other medications.
They can answer questions about what may happen as the cancer progresses and tell you which treatment options are available at each phase of your cancer journey. Your oncologist will monitor how well each treatment is working and recommend changes as needed.
You can also ask an oncologist about the most recent treatment options and whether they feel you’d be a good candidate for any clinical trials.
Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays targeted at cancer cells to kill them or slow growth. With advanced cancer, radiation is used to delay cancer growth and reduce painful symptoms. If you’re getting radiation therapy, a radiation oncologist will supervise this type of treatment.
The radiation oncologist will recommend the type of radiation to be used and walk you through the process. You’ll also discuss any symptoms from the radiation therapy. They’ll monitor you during treatment. After the treatments are complete, the doctor will check to see the effect radiation had on your cancer growth.
Some social workers specialize in oncology, meaning they are uniquely trained to work with people with cancer and their families. When things get overwhelming, a social worker can help you come up with a plan. They can also talk to you and your family about feelings surrounding your diagnosis and treatment and offer resources for emotional support.
For many families, a cancer diagnosis can also mean financial worries. A social worker can help you deal with health insurance issues and find out if you qualify for any financial assistance programs.
During your cancer treatment, your nutrition needs may change. A dietitian can help you develop a healthy eating plan that makes sure you’re getting enough vitamins and minerals.
There is some research that shows dietary changes can have a positive effect on prostate cancer.
There are organizations that specialize in providing information and support to men with prostate cancer and their families. You can contact them for doctor and treatment center recommendations near you and ways to get other resources. Many also post the latest news and research developments about prostate cancer on their websites.
- The American Cancer Society
- Urology Care Foundation
- National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health
- Malecare Cancer Support
- Prostate Cancer Foundation
Friends and family can offer support, but they may not always understand what it’s like to be living with advanced cancer. Joining a support group can help you connect with others who are going through the same thing. You can share information and resources as well as talk about fears and concerns.
You can find a support group in your area or connect with an online group. Organizations like the American Cancer Society maintain a list of support groups. Social workers can also help you to find a group that meets your needs.
If you don’t feel up to meeting a group in person, trying an online chat or closed social media group can still help you connect and share with others.