Talking to Your Doctor About Prostate Cancer
Michael Jubinville, MPH
It is important to be an active part of your care. Talk to your care team about concerns you have and let them know what your health goals are. This will help to guide treatment. Ask questions about tests, treatments, or choices of your care team. Let them know if the treatment plan or steps are unclear.
General Tips for Gathering Information
Here are some tips that may help:
- Bring someone else with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of questions to ask.
- Write down your questions as you think of them.
- Write down the answers you get. Make sure you understand what you are hearing. If you don't, ask the care team to explain it again. Ask for handouts that may help.
- Ask where you can find more information. You have a right to know.
Questions to Ask Your Doctor
About Your Risk of Prostate Cancer
Am I at risk of
- What can I do to lower my risk of prostate cancer?
About Prostate Cancer
- What is the stage of my cancer?
What does that mean?
- Has my cancer spread outside of the prostate?
About Treatment Options
- What treatment will work best for me? Why?
- What should I do to prepare for treatment?
- How long will my treatment last?
- Will the treatment work?
- What risks and side effects might I have?
- Will the treatment make it hard to do day to day activity?
- Will treatment cause erectile dysfunction?
- What will happen if I don't have treatment?
What medicines can I take?
- How will medicines help me?
- Do they have side effects?
Will these medicines interact with other medicine or
that I am already taking?
Are there any
that may help me?
About Lifestyle Changes
- Should I eat any special foods?
- Are there any changes I should make?
- Do I need a dietitian to help me plan meals?
Should I start an exercise program?
- What kind of exercise is best?
- How often can I exercise?
- How do I get started?
- Should I stop drinking alcohol?
- What steps can help me quit smoking?
- Will I still be able to have sex?
Can you help me find support groups
for myself and my family?
- What are the chances my cancer will come back after it's treated?
- How will I know that my treatment worked?
- What can I tell my wife, children, or other people in my family about my cancer?
- What should I expect out of treatment?
- How often will I need checkups?
Getting the most out of your doctor appointment. Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: https://familydoctor.org/tips-for-talking-to-your-doctor. Updated January 19, 2018. Accessed December 17, 2019.
Prostate cancer. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:
https://www.dynamed.com/condition/prostate-cancer. Updated October 16, 2018. Accessed December 17, 2019.
What should you ask your health care team about prostate cancer? American Cancer Society website. Available at: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/prostate-cancer/detection-diagnosis-staging/talking-with-doctor.html. Updated March 11, 2016. Accessed December 17, 2019.
Last reviewed September 2019 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board Nicole Meregian, PA
Last Updated: 12/1/2020