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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,

a 2


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

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

and preferences.

Support groups

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.