Tag Archive for: health conditions

How Is Early Stage Prostate Cancer Treated?

How Is Early Stage Prostate Cancer Treated? from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.

For early stage prostate cancer, what are the current treatment approaches? Expert Dr. Tanya Dorff explains common treatments and reviews factors that impact a patient’s options.

Dr. Tanya Dorff is Associate Professor in the Department of Medical Oncology & Therapeutics Research at City of Hope. Learn more about Dr. Dorff.


Related Resources:

What Does Active Surveillance Mean for Prostate Cancer

Thriving With Prostate Cancer: What You Should Know About Care and Treatment

What Questions Should Prostate Cancer Patients Ask About Clinical Trials



When it is time to start treatment, what types of approaches are available for early stage prostate cancer patients? 

Dr. Dorff:

Localized prostate cancer or early stage prostate cancer can be cured with either surgery or radiation, and we actually view these to be equally effective options. Sometimes people have the misconception that if they’re getting radiation to treat their localized prostate cancer, they’re being relegated to a noncurative or a less effective option. It’s actually not the case. We don’t have truly good, randomized, head-to-head studies. 

You can find retrospective studies, people looking back at 2,000 patients treated at this institution or that institution, and you can find a study that pretty much says whatever you want it to. You can find some that say surgery’s better, some that say radiation’s better, but in sum, we sort of view them as being equally effective options. And so, they just have different side effect profiles, and so, we often counsel patients who are considering which local treatment to receive to look at what their current urinary function is, what their goals are for their long-term function, both urinary and sexual, and use that as a guide, as well as their age, their other health conditions, and those kinds of factors. 

Why Should Prostate Cancer Patients Be Empowered?

Why Should Prostate Cancer Patients Be Empowered? from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.

Prostate cancer researcher Dr. Andrew Armstrong explains how he empowers his patients and describes the positive benefits of speaking up in your own care.

Dr. Andrew J. Armstrong is a medical oncologist and director of clinical research at the Duke Cancer Institute’s Center for Prostate and Urologic Cancers. For more information on Dr. Armstrong here.

See More from Engage Prostate Cancer

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Prostate Cancer Shared Decision-Making_ How Does It Work

Prostate Cancer Shared Decision-Making: How Does It Work?

An Expert’s Perspective on Emerging Prostate Cancer Research

An Expert’s Perspective on Emerging Prostate Cancer Research

Key Questions for Prostate Cancer Patients to Ask Before Joining a Clinical Trial

Key Questions for Prostate Cancer Patients to Ask Before Joining a Clinical Trial


Katherine Banwell:

How do you empower patients? 

Dr. Armstrong:

Well, I empower patients by talking and listening. So, listening probably the most important part. Just getting to know somebody and their family is empowering them. You’re understanding their values, their preferences, understanding what side effects they’ve experienced in the past, what comorbidities or health conditions they’re facing, what their fears are. You know, what spiritual values they might bring, what support systems they might bring.  

Every patient is different, and part of a consultation is getting to know the person in front of you, and that empowers them to be honest. Empowers you to be transparent and get to know them so that you can help them sift through a complex decision. 

Giving information is really important, so I do a lot of talking as well as listening. 

But giving information back to the patient about risks and benefits of treatment A, B, or C or no treatment is critical. And then there is a lot of then listening to that shared decision about what might be right for that patient and navigating it. 

Katherine Banwell:

Why is it important for patients to be empowered? 

Dr. Armstrong:

It’s important for patients to be empowered, because this can often be a life-threatening decision. It’s important because this is ultimately their decision for their body, and making this decision can have major consequences that patients have to live with. Doctors empower patients to make the right decisions so they’re comfortable and don’t have regrets looking back on life and these important decisions. Whether this is picking surgery or radiation, or picking initial surveillance, or enrolling on a trial, or starting hormonal therapy. 

I think each decision sometimes is reversible, but sometimes is a big decision that can’t be taken back, and making sure that that patient feels empowered, that they don’t have regrets later, that they’ve gotten all the information to make an informed decision is really critical.