NCCN Guidelines for Patients
Prostate Cancer, Version 1.2016
Making treatment decisions
Weighing your options
Weighing your options
Deciding which option is best can be hard. Doctors
from different fields of medicine may have different
opinions on which option is best for you. This can be
very confusing. Your spouse or partner may disagree
with which option you want. This can be stressful. In
some cases, one option hasn’t been shown to work
better than another, so science isn’t helpful. Some
ways to decide on treatment are discussed next.
The time around a cancer diagnosis is very stressful.
People with cancer often want to get treated as soon
as possible. They want to make their cancer go
away before it spreads farther. While cancer can’t be
ignored, there is time to think about and choose which
option is best for you.
You may wish to have another doctor review your test
results and suggest a treatment plan. This is called
getting a 2
opinion. You may completely trust your
doctor, but a 2
opinion on which option is best can
Copies of the pathology report, a DVD of the imaging
tests, and other test results need to be sent to the
doctor giving the 2
opinion. Some people feel
uneasy asking for copies from their doctors. However,
opinion is a normal part of cancer care.
When doctors have cancer, most will talk with more
than one doctor before choosing their treatment.
What’s more, some health plans require a 2
If your health plan doesn’t cover the cost of a 2
opinion, you have the choice of paying for it yourself.
If the two opinions are the same, you may feel more
at peace about the treatment you accept to have.
If the two opinions differ, think about getting a 3
opinion. A 3
opinion may help you decide between
your options. Choosing your cancer treatment is a
very important decision. It can affect your length and
quality of life.
Decision aids are tools that help people make
complex choices. For example, you may have to
choose between two options that work equally as
well. Sometimes making a decision is hard because
there is a lack of science supporting a treatment.
Decision aids often focus on one decision point.
In contrast, this book presents tests and treatment
options at each point of care for large groups of
patients. Well-designed decision aids include
information that research has identified as what men
need to make decisions. They also aim to help you
think about what’s important based on your values
Besides talking to health experts, it may help to talk to
men who have walked in your shoes. Support groups
often consist of men at different stages of treatment.
Some may be in the process of deciding while
others may be finished with treatment. At support
groups, you can ask questions and hear about the
experiences of other men with prostate cancer.
Compare benefits and downsides
Every option has benefits and downsides. Consider
these when deciding which option is best for you.
Talking to others can help identify benefits and
downsides you haven’t thought of. Scoring each
factor from 0 to 10 can also help since some factors
may be more important to you than others.