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Questions to Ask your Doctor: Recurrence of Prostate Cancer

When it is caught early, prostate cancer is usually curable. However, some men may see a return of their cancer after approximately 5 years. Generally, this will be noticed because of a rising PSA, and your doctor may recommend more treatment. Here are a few questions to ask your doctor before you decide on your next course.

  • How high is my PSA?
  • Can we chart the changes in my PSA? What can this “PSA velocity” or “PSA slope” tell us about my prognosis?
  • Should I get a bone scan to see if the cancer has spread to my bones?
  • Are there any genetic tests I can do that might make me eligible for clinical trials or new, gene-targeted drugs?
  • Are there any other tests I should have to determine where the cancer is or how much the cancer has spread?
  • What treatments are available to me at this stage? Surgery? Hormone therapy? Immunotherapy? Chemotherapy?
  • What is the likelihood that these treatments could send my cancer into remission again?
  • What are the potential side effects, both severe and minor types?
  • Are there dietary changes that I could or should make to optimize treatment? What should my ideal exercise program be?
  • Should we add a medical oncologist or radiation oncologist to my treatment team to gain an additional perspective on treating my disease?
  • What is new on the horizon for treatment in early clinical trials? What about Immunotherapy, checkpoint inhibitors, and new precision drugs targeted to specific genes?
  • What is my prognosis with further treatment? Without?

Discussing these questions with your doctor will help you make informed decisions regarding future treatment.