Your Care Instructions
The prostate gland is a small, walnut-shaped organ that lies just below a man's bladder. It surrounds the urethra, the tube that carries urine from the bladder out of the body through the penis. Prostate cancer is the abnormal growth of cells in the prostate gland. Prostate cancer cells can spread within the prostate, to nearby lymph nodes and other tissues, and to other parts of the body.
When the cancer hasn't spread outside the prostate, it is called localized prostate cancer. With localized prostate cancer, your options depend on how likely it is that your cancer will grow. Test results will show if your cancer is likely to grow.
- Low-risk cancer isn't likely to grow right away. If your cancer is low-risk, you can choose active surveillance. This means your cancer will be watched closely by your doctor with regular checkups and tests to see if the cancer grows. This choice allows you to delay having surgery or radiation, often for many years. If the cancer grows very slowly, you may never need treatment.
- Medium-risk cancer is more likely to grow. Some men with this type of cancer may be able to choose active surveillance. Others may need to choose surgery or radiation.
- High-risk cancer is most likely to grow. If you have high-risk cancer, you will likely need to choose surgery or radiation.
If your cancer has already spread outside the prostate or to other parts of the body, then you may have other treatments, like chemotherapy or hormone therapy.
If you are over age 80 or have other serious health problems, like heart disease, you may choose not to have treatments to cure your cancer. Instead, you can just have treatments to manage your symptoms. This is called watchful waiting.
Finding out that you have cancer is scary. You may feel many emotions and may need some help coping. Seek out family, friends, and counsellors for support. You also can do things at home to make yourself feel better while you go through treatment. Call the Canadian Cancer Society (1-888-939-3333) or visit its website at www.cancer.ca for more information.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Where can you learn more?
Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd
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