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Assignement: Preparing for your First uro visit After Biopsy

Posts: 892
Joined: Jan 2010

I need help putting together a list of questions to ask the doctor when....

this is the setting. You have had a biopsy, you get phone confirmtion that there has been a positive sample taken and the doctor wants to meet with you about the results. This is all new to you so you have no idea what to ask at this first meeting.

So, at this meeting you are told you have a positive sample, say one 3+4 out of 12 samples taken.

What questions should the new PC patient be asking the doctor at this first visit?

The doc says we need to schedule you for surgery ASAP, or someother treatment, what is the best response?

Your collective wisdom is solisited. Make this good. It may be a big help to others.

Posts: 9
Joined: Aug 2011

1. Do I need further testing to see if the cancer has spread?
(Whole body bone scan and pelvic CT scan with contrast are possible. If tests are identified, do them right away. They give more diagnostic information for this any other doctor you may see.)
2. Is this cancer fast growing? Can you tell me what kind of cancer this is? (not just prostate cancer...1
2a. Am I T2, T3 or T1.
2b. What is my Gleason score?
3. From what you know at this moment, are any of the traditional options closed to me?
4. What surgical options are there? (there are lots of surgeries including nerve sparing surgery)
4a. What are the side effects?
4b. What is the recovery rate with for people with my profile?
ask to see where you are on the Partine tables.
5. What are the radiation options? (And there are lots)
5a. What are the side effects?
5b. What is the recovery rate with for people with my profile?
6. what are the hormone therapies available?
6a. What are the side effects?
6b. What is the recovery rate with for people with my profile?
7. What about combination therapies (hormone and surgery or hormone and radiation or ...)
7a. What are the side effects?
7b. What is the recovery rate with ?
8. If the current doctor will be performing the , how experienced is she or he?
9. Try to figure out how this doctor would benefit from your making a decision to be his patient. If a doctor bad mouths all the other procedures, it should be taken as a warning. Most cases have more than one good solution.

Do not hesitate to make another appointment to ask more questions, for example after any tests they may want to perform.

You might want to have a scribe there or even record the conversation because afterwards, you will need to review and make decisions.

Ask for copies of any tests including the biopsy. You will be needing them for the next item.

Most importantly: get 2nd and 3rd and 4th opinions (my hero is a member of this site who had 8). Try to get a specialist in each of the areas (surgery, hormone, radiation, etc) even if you have to travel. Make the appointments now before you even have the first appointment. Or else the waiting will make you wild. We were lucky enough to get two in the same week and then had to wait two more weeks. That is hard.

Decide what side effects are acceptable to you.

Best of luck to you

ProfWagstaff's picture
Posts: 98
Joined: Jun 2010

Trew, this posting is an excellent idea. When I got my diagnosis, I was overwhelmed so didn't think to ask about half of these questions until a few days after. I did get answers to all eventually.
A very thorough listing from RRman'sWife. I'll only add that where she mentions having a scribe with you, I would strongly agree. My urologist specifically told me to bring another family member with me to the appointment following my staging tests because he specifically wanted another pair of ears to hear everything.

VascodaGama's picture
Posts: 1779
Joined: Nov 2010

Here is my contribution with some questions any one can adapt to their List of Questions when visiting the doctors. I recommend that the list should be long and should include “odd” questions too. Waiting for a second consultation to make more questions may be costly and time consuming when one needs to get to a quick response.

1. How aggressive can we consider his case taking into account his age and other health complications and symptoms?
2. How far advanced is it (contained/localized)?
3. Should I get a second opinion for all choices?
4. What are all options?
5. Should I consider do nothing and just monitor any advance?
6. What treatments are best for my husband?
7. Can such treatment lead to risks and other problems or interact with other medications?
8. What can be done to cope with the side effects?
9. Will my husband have to stay in the hospital for treatment? How long?
10. Will treatment keep him from doing certain things and look after himself?
11. How often will he be checked after treatment?
12. Can he go back to normal daily activities after treatment?
13. What experiences have other patients had with similar treatment regimens?
14. Is there any new type of treatment or trials that might be beneficial?
15. What has been your experience with prostate cancer patients similar to his case?
16. How many surgeries do you and your teams perform annually?
17. Can you recommend any of your patients I can consult on their experience?
18. Are there materials I can read about the cancer and treatment?
One can request for permission to a later call to the doctor’s office for a specific clarification if one has doubts on any answer.

Here is a good book that may help in understanding some answers as well as in deciphering more Questions;
"100 QUESTIONS & ANSWERS ABOUT PROSTATE CANCER"; by Alan J. Wein and Pamela Ellsworth.


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