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Treatment Options

There are a number of prostate cancer treatments to consider. Each type brings different benefits and challenges so it’s important to be informed and make a decision based on what’s best for your partner and you.

“The one thing I would recommend is that, if possible, take the time to research all the options available for treatment. Don’t rush into any decision.”

How do you decide?

You and your partner will need to take into account several factors when deciding on a treatment option:

Risk of spread

If your doctor has determined through several tests that your partner is at low risk—that is, the cancer is localized in the prostrate and has not spread to any other parts of the body– you will have time to consider a wide range of options. If he is considered to be at high risk or if the cancer has already spread, the number of options is reduced and you will need to make a decision more quickly.

Time commitment

Every treatment option requires that your partner spend time managing his condition– either as part of the treatment or during recovery. If surgery is the option you choose, there will be a short hospital stay plus time off work and away from recreational activities. With active surveillance, doctor visits will be a regular occurrence.

Side effects

Each treatment brings its own benefits and disadvantages. For many couples, the most significant disadvantages revolve around
potential side effects of the chosen option. These side effects can be temporary or permanent, minor, moderate or severe. Everyone will experience side effects in a different way, so it’s important to consider which ones you and your partner can live with if they do occur.

Choosing a Treatment

The following pages contain summaries of the most common treatments available in Canada for prostate cancer. Look them over and discuss them with your partner. If you need more detailed information, visit the list of websites on page 16 or take a list of questions to your partner’s doctor for the answers you need. Then use the tool on pages six and seven to determine which options might be right for your partner and you.

You are NOT your partner

Recognize that a man’s view of himself will be a significant factor in any decision he makes regarding prostate cancer treatment. But keep in mind that his view of himself and your view of him may be quite different. Listen carefully to his concerns. Express your concerns with clarity and caring. It may take time for you to understand each other’s points of view regarding his virility, vulnerability and place within your relationship and within your family. Acknowledge your fears, and his. Assure him that he need not be embarrassed to talk to you about anything.