After skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men.
While it is likely that the tumor growing inside your body will grow slowly, that does not mean you can skip those follow-up appointments with your medical oncologist.
“It’s cancer. It’s going to do what it wants,” said Dr. Martha Terris, chief of urology at Augusta University Health and Witherington Distinguished Chair in the Medical College of Georgia. “Just because the statistics say one thing, that doesn’t mean you’re going to be just another statistic.”
According to a recent study published in the Medical Journal of Australia, most men do not follow the proper guidelines after being diagnosed with prostate cancer. Even though follow up care is crucial to maintaining overall health, managing treatment side-effects, identifying cancer recurrence and screening for other types of cancer.
“My message to men is that when you are told your prostate cancer does not look very aggressive and we can just watch it, that does not mean you can ignore it,” Terris said. “If you don’t watch it, your tumor may be the one that’s not the benign-acting, slow-growing kind.”
There are many risk factors for prostate cancer, including family history, race and age. The older you get, the higher your risk is for developing the disease. Ask your doctor about your risk factors and when you should start screening. A screening involves a physical exam, consisting of a digital rectal exam and a blood test to check the PSA level.
If a patient misses his prostate cancer follow-up, all it takes is one phone call to make that appointment. Terris and her team know work deadlines, family situations and transportation problems can’t be avoided.
“We won’t be upset that you have missed an appointment, we just want to be sure you get followed up,” she said. “We now have members of the urologic oncology team at the Georgia Cancer Center practically every day. This allows us to work with the patient’s schedule to have his prostate check-up at a convenient day and time.”
If it’s cancer, see us first.
Our team of specially-trained cancer providers are skilled in the care of your unique diagnosis. Every type of cancer reacts differently within your unique biological microenvironment and so our teams work together to collaborate and determine a personalized treatment plan for your individual needs. Visit augustahealth.org/cancer or call 888-365-0747.
Identify your different types of prostate cancer risk factors by taking this Healthy Prostate Quiz.
U.S. National Library of Medicine- Prostate Cancer: Overview