Prostate cancer may be the most common form of cancer in men and the third leading cause of cancer death in men, but women need to know they have an important role to play in the health of the men in their lives.
“I encourage wives, girlfriends, sisters and friends to have a conversation with their loved ones that could save lives,” said Dr. Martha Terris. “The American Cancer Society says there will be just over 161,000 new cases of prostate cancer this year and almost 27,000 deaths from the disease. While September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, it is always the perfect time to start the conversation about prevention and care.”
To start the conversation, Terris recommends:
- Find a time to discuss it when you won’t be rushed or interrupted.
- Ask him what he remembers about the health history of previous generations and relatives.
- Ask him if he has discussed his risk of prostate cancer with his primary care doctor. If he hasn’t been screened yet, encourage him to make an appointment to do so.
- Look up the warning signs and symptoms of prostate cancer together.
- Review ways to reduce the risk of prostate cancer and see which ones you can do together.
Terris speaks from experience. Her father and grandfather died of metastatic prostate cancer and she has three sons. She, along with the entire Georgia Cancer Center team, am dedicated to the accurate diagnosis and staging of prostate cancer and developing a treatment plan based on the patient’s priorities, not theirs.
“If you’re a man living with prostate cancer, I want you to know the Georgia Cancer Center offers a surgical technique to remove the prostate that you won’t find anywhere else in the southeastern United States,” Terris said. “We use the Da Vinci robot for prostatectomy that can allow a man to regain full urine control faster and with little to no complications.”
Dr. Zachary Klaassen, and Terris can also help men who have a slow growing, small prostate cancer make the decision to monitor it rather than treating it aggressively. And, the team at the Georgia Cancer Center’s Radiation Therapy Center provide a variety of personalized radiation therapy options. So, it is important to talk with your doctor today about when you need to schedule your first prostate-specific membrane antigen positron emission tomography (PSMA PET) scan to see if there are any signs of prostate cancer inside the body. As with many cancers, the sooner you catch it, the better and longer your life could be rather than waiting until the cancer is in an advanced stage.
But, if you do wait too long to talk with your doctor, Terris has information about new treatments being developed and approved through clinical trials with prostate cancer patients and how her team works to treat the entire patient as part of their care plan.
“For men with more aggressive prostate cancers other options such as hormone treatment and the exciting new immunotherapy medications can be explored with Dr. Jigarkumar Parikh,” Terris said. “Dr. Sherita King focuses on maintaining quality of life after cancer treatment. She is able to offer a wide variety of options for urinary or sexual side effects from treatment.”
Should prostate cancer strike a man you know, you can provide immeasurable strength and support by helping him absorb the news and make the best treatment decision, then by fighting beside him to win the battle.