In the Toughest Decision You’ll Ever Make, Do Your Homework

In the Toughest Decision You’ll Ever Make, Do Your Homework
Living & Loving with Prostate Cancer

The Question

I’ll never forget the question my urologist asked me during my appointment to discuss treatment options: "How would you like to treat your prostate cancer?" I thought he was joking. I had a palpable lump, 4+3 Gleason score, and a potentially life-threatening disease. How could he expect me to come up with an intelligent answer about treating a disease I knew next to nothing about? I can’t think of another illness, injury, or disease where I’ve been asked to decide the course of treatment. The only thing I knew at that time was I wanted to treat my prostate cancer aggressively. I thought back to the dozen books I’d checked out from the library. The easiest form of treatment I could remember was brachytherapy. This option appealed to me because it would require only treatment and there wasn’t much down time. My primary objective was finding an aggressive treatment that was, first and foremost, convenient for me. I was startled when my urologist ruled out my decision. He said that based on my urological history, I would not do well with brachytherapy. I’d just used up all the knowledge I’d accumulated. I had nothing else to offer. I knew he did, so I searched for a way to get him to tell me what I wanted to know.

The Answer

I formulated a question to get the answer I needed to hear. I asked, "If you had my urological history, a palpable lump, and a Gleason score of 4+3,
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