Understanding your diagnosis
We know that getting a prostate cancer diagnosis can be a shock. You may not be able to take in everything you are being told, and you’ll certainly have questions that you forget to ask.
Everyone should have the right to choose the prostate cancer treatment that suits them best.
But to make this decision, you need to understand what your diagnosis means, which therapies may be suitable for you, and the long-term prognosis for what your life after prostate cancer could look like.
“Barry’s 75, but a very young 75 — we live our lives to the fullest and want to continue to do so.”
Jackie Reuben, wife of The Focal Therapy Clinic patient, Barry
Unrivalled support at every stage
Multiple tests are needed to accurately diagnose prostate cancer, including an MRI scan (which is used to look at your prostate inside your body) and a biopsy (where a small area of the prostate gland is removed and looked at under a microscope). Our diagnostics are performed using the latest mpMRI technology, which is around 90% accurate in detecting clinically significant tumours. This is compared to just 30% accuracy in TRUS biopsies.
When these tests are combined with PSA (prostate-specific antigen) testing, it makes for supremely accurate results.
These results will tell you:
- How aggressive your cancer is, which is indicated by the Gleason grade you are given.
- The progression, size and location of your tumour, which is indicated by the TNM stage you are given.
More on what these terms mean below.
While your initial diagnosis and treatment recommendation may be given to you by your NHS doctor, we nearly always recommend that men seek a second opinion before starting any treatment pathway.
“When I contacted FTC, Brian went through everything that can happen — it was good to speak to someone knowledgeable and empathetic. Talking to him opened my mind about what options there were.”
The Focal Therapy Clinic patient
The Gleason scale is used to evaluate how aggressive your cancer is, and how likely it is to spread beyond your prostate. This can be invaluable when it comes to deciding on your treatment.
Understanding your Gleason score
If you are confused about your Gleason score and would like to find out which treatment options are best for you, don’t hesitate to contact us.
TNM stands for Tumour, Node and Metastasis. Your TNM stage can tell you how big your tumour is, where it is and whether it has spread to your lymph nodes or any other areas of your body.
Your TNM result will have a number for each different letter, or an X if the result of that element of the staging can’t be determined. Generally, cancers that are graded as T1, T2 and some T3a tumours where the cancer is still confined to the prostate can potentially be treated with focal therapies.
Understanding your TNM stage
If you have questions about your TNM score and would like to find out which treatment options may be suitable for you, contact us for an informal, no-obligation chat.
Questions for your doctor
When you first get your diagnosis, you’ll probably need time to process the information before you can think about the next steps in your care.
Once you’re ready, it’s important to take the time to do your research into your treatment options, what they involve, their side effects and their results. You may also want to consider getting the opinion of a second specialist.
It can be difficult to think of all the questions that you may want to ask before your consultation, so we’ve listed a few below to get you started.
Questions to consider asking your doctor:
- What treatment options would you recommend for me and why?
- What are the benefits of each treatment?
- What are the risks and side effects associated with each treatment?
- Are any of the side effects long term and could they affect my quality of life?
- How can I prepare for treatment?
- Will I need to stay in hospital?
- Will I be able to have further treatment if I need it?
Still got questions?
While we can’t imagine exactly what you are going through, we can promise you that we’ll help you to find the right prostate cancer treatment for you.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our compassionate and dedicated team.
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