Your prostate cancer treatment team should consist of several specialists. As with every functional team, every member has an important role in your care. Your prostate cancer treatment team is essential because most men will now live many years with their prostate cancer. You will have many prostate cancer treatment options, and you need to be comfortable with your treatment team to make the best decisions. Here are some of the team members that will support your treatment plan:
A urologist is a surgeon who specializes in diseases of the prostate as well as the urinary tract and male reproductive system. There are some urologists who specialize in surgical and medical treatments for prostate cancer. Often in conjunction with the medical oncologist, a urologist will help determine the best treatment plan for your prostate cancer. If your treatment plan involves surgery, it will most likely be performed by a urologist.
A medical oncologist is a specialist in the diagnosing, staging, and treatment of cancer with chemotherapy and other medical options.
A radiation oncologist is the professional on your prostate cancer treatment team who uses radiation to treat prostate cancer. This could be primary treatment or for the relief of pain when prostate cancer has progressed.
Primary care physician
A primary care physician will not likely be involved in the direct decision making related to your prostate cancer, but is an essential component of your prostate cancer treatment team.
You will probably have known your primary care doctor longer than any other physicians on your treatment team. Your primary care doctor is a great professional person to help you understand your treatment options and weigh the pros and cons of each treatment offered to you by the other specialty doctors. This individual will probably know a lot about your previous medical decisions and what aspects of care might be most important to you.
Sexual and urinary rehabilitation doctor
Treating cancer can be really rough on the body. Seeing physical and occupational therapists can help improve your quality of life and function by addressing musculoskeletal problems, pain, fatigue, and other functional problems associated with your cancer, its treatment (e.g., surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation), or treatment side effects. This will most likely also include a sexual health specialist who will be involved in the rehabilitation of erectile function after treatment as well as any penile rehabilitation program.
A social worker is an integral part of your prostate cancer treatment team. In addition to providing counseling services and support, a social worker can help you with many other aspects of your care. Advanced prostate cancer drugs like Provenge and Zytiga can be really expensive. A social worker can help you apply for different programs that can help with the expense of these medicines.
When you are living with prostate cancer, addressing your physical and emotional symptoms that result from your cancer diagnosis and its treatment is just as important as treating your cancer. Integrative medicine as part of your prostate cancer treatment team can include many or just a few of the following:
- Diet and nutrition
- Relaxation therapies
- Exercise and weight loss
Talk with your doctor about which integrative medicine services might be available at your treatment center or in your local community. If your doctor is not aware of any, contact your local American Cancer Society to get information.
Read more in our Prostate Cancer Health Center.
American Cancer Society. Choosing your treatment team