Don’t rush into a decision about treatment. Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, you can safely take one to three months to do research, get a second opinion and carefully consider your options. Ask someone you trust to go with you to doctors’ appointments and tests. This person can provide emotional support and also help by taking notes, keeping track of questions you want to ask and doing research on your disease and your treatment options.
All prostate cancers are not the same. The treatment a friend or relative received may not be the best treatment for you. If detected early, prostate cancer is highly treatable, and most men with prostate cancer survive.
Two Clinics for Prostate Cancer Care
There are two clinics for prostate cancer patients at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA). These are the main SCCA clinic on south Lake Union and the SCCA Prostate Center at University of Washington Medical Center (UWMC).
- Localized prostate cancer: If you have been referred to SCCA with a diagnosis of localized prostate cancer, you will be seen at the SCCA Prostate Center on the first floor of the Surgery Pavilion at UW Medical Center. During your first appointment, you will be evaluated by a urologist, who is a trained surgeon, and other prostate cancer specialists, as necessary.
- Advanced prostate cancer: If you have been referred to SCCA with a diagnosis of advanced prostate cancer, you will likely be seen at the main SCCA clinic on south Lake Union.
You may self-refer by calling either facility.
Your First Visit
Before your first visit, your doctor will have reviewed your pathology slides (tissue samples from any biopsies) and any scans or tests you have already had.
During your first visit you will answer questions about your medical history and your current problem. This will be followed by a complete physical exam by your doctor, including a digital rectal exam.
Then you and your doctor will discuss any further tests you may need, such as a biopsy, and discuss treatment options.
This visit usually lasts one-and-a-half to two hours. You may bring a friend or family member with you to your appointment.
Surgery: Prostate cancer surgery is performed at UW Medical Center, which is part of UW Medicine, an SCCA parent organization.
Radiation therapy: Radiation therapy is performed at SCCA on south Lake Union or UW Medical Center.
Chemotherapy: Outpatient chemotherapy is delivered at SCCA. Inpatient chemotherapy is delivered at UW Medical Center.
Follow-Up After Treatment
At SCCA, we follow our patients for at least 10 years. Typically, if you were treated with radiation or surgery, you will come for checkups every three to six months for the first two years after your treatment for prostate cancer is completed.
Men who reach the two-year mark without having a recurrence of their disease will be seen less often. From that point, we usually ask you to come in every six to 12 months for a checkup until five years have passed.
Men who are treated for advanced prostate cancer will be followed more closely, with more frequent appointments. Our patients say that they find it reassuring to see the same doctors who treated them—experts in prostate cancer—for their follow-up visits.
Men who were treated at SCCA but do not live in the Seattle area may opt to receive their follow-up care with their local doctor. In these cases, we usually ask that these patients keep us up-to-date on their health status by phone or mail and have prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test results sent to SCCA.