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You don't have to decide on prostate cancer treatment instantly

You've heard the reports about prostate cancer treatment. You know that surgery, while most common, does increase your risk of unwanted side effects, pain and suffering, and even medical mistakes and malpractice. You also know that some studies have found that older men who don't get any treatment have roughly the same outcomes as those who do have surgery.

You've been diagnosed, and now you're not sure what to do. Should you have surgery? What options are there? Is it wise to do nothing, or are you just putting yourself at greater risk?

One important thing to note is that many medical experts say men who have early-stage prostate cancer don't always have to get treatment immediately. Obviously, you must consult with your medical team on this, but don't assume you have to make this choice by tomorrow or the cancer is going to spread or shorten your life. That's often the natural first thought with any cancer diagnosis, but the reality is that you may have some time to think over all of your options and make the best decision.

For example, some men opt to go with "active surveillance." These men usually have low-grade cancer, meaning it isn't growing quickly, and they're already a bit older. They may have other health issues. While surgery can be difficult to deal with, the reality is that cancer may not shorten their lives, so they just keep an eye on it and don't get treatment.

Again, every case is different. Talk to you doctor. Don't assume you don't need to do anything. At the same time, though, understand your situation and remember that it pays to really consider all of your options carefully.

Source: Cancer.org, "Considering Prostate Cancer Treatment Options," accessed Aug. 11, 2017

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