Published on November 1, 2020
Doctor Shares Information for Newly Diagnosed Prostate Cancer Patients
What are the signs and symptoms of prostate cancer? How is it diagnosed? What course of action should someone who is newly diagnosed with prostate cancer take? Finally, what advice do doctors have for patients and their care partners? Dr. Celestia “Tia” Higano, medical director of Vancouver Prostate Centre’s Prostate Cancer Supportive Care Program, discusses the early signs of prostate cancer, when it most commonly occurs and her advice for new patients.
Transcript | Newly Diagnosed with Prostate Cancer? Hear A Doctor’s Advice
Dr. Higano: We're probably as close now as we have been to actually coming up with some real magic bullets. So, the bullet’s not going to be the same for all cancers, and sometimes we're going to have to use multiple bullets, but I think that's been an extremely gratifying thing for someone like me to have happened to have their career go from one extreme to the other in this period of time.
What Is Prostate Cancer?
Prostate cancer is the most common malignancy in men, and it involves a gland that nobody has ever heard of usually, and it's not prostrate it’s prostate. Anyway, the prostate is important normally for fertility issues, but as men age, men get to know the prostate as something that enlarges and causes problems with going to the bathroom.
I always say, it's the only thing in our body that gets bigger as we age instead of shrinking, but the fact of the matter is the prostate can enlarge and not be a problem, or it can enlarge and have some cancer in it.
What Advice Can You Offer a Newly Diagnosed Patient?
The more I can help you understand the disease, whatever stage of disease it is, the more at ease you will become because you won't be having some magical thinking going on behind the scenes about other people with different kinds of cancers that you know, and what they've gone through. Cancer is not all the same. All cancers are different, the treatments are different.
Once we can sit down and formulate a plan for what we're going to do, a lot of stress goes away. There's no rush. It's a bad thing to hear and most people are very much in shock when they hear the word cancer. It's important for you to have your support system involved, your partner, a close family member, a close friend, come with you to your appointments because you really need two sets of ears. So, what I say to you today will be very much better heard by the other person rather than yourself.
So, each case of prostate cancer is different, but in general, it tends to be a very long-lived cancer. I mean, it's sort of perhaps no different than other chronic diseases like diabetes. You have to take your insulin every day or your sugar lowering medication, but it's not going to result in any longevity problems in the immediate future. Prostate cancer is actually very treatable, and men can live with the disease, even if it's not cured for many years.