If you’ve been diagnosed with prostate cancer, we recommend getting a second opinion before selecting a course of treatment. Getting a second opinion is more than a formality. It’s a valuable way to verify facts, like the stage, the location, and even the existence of the disease. A second opinion may provide you access to new treatments or clinical studies that are available for men in your specific situation.
If you have received a prostate cancer diagnosis, a second opinion makes sense for the following reasons:
- Prostate cancer can be a complex disease to treat, and there are many opinions about how best to treat it.
- You have time. In most cases, prostate cancer is a slow-growing disease; in some cases, it may develop over a 10- to 20-year period and never move beyond the prostate. Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, you can most likely take one to three months to learn all you can to make a calculated, deliberate plan of action for treating your disease.
- It’s important to avoid overtreatment. It’s been well documented1 that prostate cancer has been overtreated, meaning some men with the disease have undergone treatments they did not need. That’s one reason why Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA) is a proponent of active surveillance for dealing with slow-growing prostate cancer.
- Changing treatment regimens is not always easy or possible. Once you start a course of treatment, it’s sometimes hard to change to something else, especially if you’ve elected surgery or radiation. So it’s important to be well informed and make the best possible decisions from the outset.
Take your time, and find a urologic oncologist you trust and a course of treatment you’re comfortable with. If you weren’t diagnosed at SCCA, consider making an appointment with one of our many specialists, who are all University of Washington faculty members. SCCA is the only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center in the Northwest.
And if you received your diagnosis here at SCCA, don’t be afraid to ask your doctor about getting a second opinion. They’ll be more than happy to provide you with a list of recommended doctors to consult with.
1. Roberto Daza, “Research Aims to Prevent Overtreatment of Prostate Cancer,” The Seattle Times, August 17, 2011.