Several key factors come into play for advanced prostate cancer treatment decisions. In the “Which Factors Impact Advanced Prostate Cancer Treatment Decisions?” program, expert Dr. Atish Choudhury from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute shares insight about these factors that aid in working toward optimal patient care.
Though age is only number, age is one of the factors to look at in advanced prostate cancer treatment decisions. Several other factors play into treatment options, and when the factors are added together they comprise a balanced picture for optimal care.
2. Fitness Level
The physical fitness levels of patients can vary by age, so this is why it’s important to consider it as a treatment factor. Patients who incorporate exercise into their lives before, during, and after cancer treatment generally have shorter and easier recovery times compared to patients who live a more sedentary lifestyle. Physical fitness also boosts the immune system to help fight infections.
The activities in each patient’s life are also vital in helping to guide treatment decisions. If travel is important to a patient for their happiness and/or to see friends and family, this is important to weigh along with other options. Other considerations like whether a patient wants to work, volunteer, hobbies, household chores, or other things the patient wants to resume must be considered as part of their care plan.
4. Overall Life Expectancy
Different than age, each patient’s overall life expectancy is taken into consideration to weigh against treatment options. The harshest treatments may be considered too extreme for those who aren’t expected to have an extended life expectancy, but the patient’s care team can discuss these considerations with the patient and their loved ones. Make sure to ask your care provider if you have questions or concerns.
5. Medical Issues
A patient’s existing medical issues must also be considered along with other key factors. For example, if a patient has heart or lung conditions, these may be important considerations with some treatment options. Autoimmune conditions may also be a concern. Make sure that your care team is aware of all your health conditions to ensure your best care.
6. Cancer Considerations
Considerations about the cancer itself must also be weighed among key factors. Specifics like the cancer stage, grade, and whether and where the cancer has spread must be taken into account when making a decision about the treatment strategy against the cancer.
7. Patient Preferences
Of course, a patient’s preferences for their treatment and life during and after treatment must be considered. Patients have different preferences for how much value they place on quality of life and long-term survival. Care team members will take these preferences into account in treatment options.
8. Side Effects
After cancer treatment starts, side effects may be more or less severe than anticipated. Depending on the patient’s side effects, treatment adjustments like treatment type, frequency, or dosage may be adjusted for optimal patient care. Make sure to let your care provider know about all side effects that you experience. A side effect that you are tempted to dismiss may be fairly simple to make adjustments for. You as the patient are your own best advocate. If you have questions about side effects before you start treatment, make sure to ask your care provider.
Prostate cancer treatment decisions must look at several key factors to narrow down treatment options for the best care of each patient. If you want to learn more about prostate cancer care and treatments, check out our prostate cancer information.