Prostate Cancer may not be life-threatening, sometimes it does not even need active treatment.
You have time to get all the information you need before deciding on treatment. You should be comfortable that the treatment is right for you before you go ahead.
Get other opinions if necessary.
Prostate Cancer is quite common these days. Since we have been doing community screening with PSA we have found more cases than previously. This means that some of the men we find today having Prostate Cancer would never have been diagnosed in years gone by. They may never have known that they had Prostate Cancer and would ultimately have passed on with some unrelated problems. Today we make these diagnoses. For at least some of the cases we find, it would be better if they were never treated, as the Cancer is not serious enough to warrant treatment.
On the other hand some cases definitely should be treated, some are definitely life-threatening.
An important advance in treatment of Prostate Cancer is that today Urologists are much better at working out which cases need to be treated and which can be observed. There are several important factors in this decision, these include the PSA level (and how quickly it is rising), biopsy results, MRI scans and the general health and life expectancy of the patient.
For those men who have had a Prostate Cancer diagnosed, but who are not recommended to have surgery (or other treatment aimed at cure), Urologists will usually set up a careful program known as Active Surveillance. This will involve regular PSA tests, often at least one more prostate biopsy and maybe other scans. If the initial recommendation (that surgery is not required) seems to have been wrong, ie that the disease is progressing, treatment is undertaken. The good news is that studies have shown that men who had delayed treatment are no worse off. They do as well as those men who were treated at day one.
So, while some cases of Prostate Cancer are serious and can spread and kill, many are not. It is important that these issues are carefully understood. There is usually no great rush in making treatment decisions. Take your time, get all the information you need and don’t agree to surgery unless you are comfortable that it is right for you.