The diagnosis of prostate cancer is a very important aspect that men need to be well informed about.
Doctors usually get phone calls and receive men coming with their families that are very concerned about prostate cancer.
If you are diagnosed with it, what do you do? What does it mean to you and what kind of cancer are we talking about?
Gleason Score – What is it?
It is very important for you to understand your disease because not every prostate cancer is the same. So, the first thing that your doctor will tell is: “John, I am sorry about the news. I think you have prostate cancer”. The first thing you want to know is: “What is my Gleason Score?”. Another important question is: “Can I have a copy of my pathology or biopsy?”
Gleason Score is a classification that the pathologists use and urologists look at and to see how aggressive your cancer is. You should be looking for a number that goes from 2-10. Often, a Gleason Score of 8-10 is very aggressive prostate cancer, really lethal and urologists will be very concerned.
The video below explains how a prostate cancer diagnosis should be understood!
If you have a Gleason Score of 2-6, that is low-risk prostate cancer that is curable, and the doctor can talk about all the treatment options. The one in the middle, which is Gleason 7, 3+4, or 4+3, indicates moderate-risk prostate cancer.
Each one of these has different prostate cancer treatment options, different risk stratifications.
The PSA test for prostate cancer diagnosis
The next thing you want to know is what is your PSA. The PSA test is a blood test that checks for the prostate-specific antigen in the patient’s body. Once the PSA grows above a normal 4.0ng/ml, its level is no longer considered normal, but elevated. The PSA is not a definite prostate cancer test, but rather an effective early indicator of prostate cancer, infection, or enlargement.
Questions to ask your doctor:
“Doctor, what is my PSA level, and how many PSA tests do you have on my record for the last five years?” That is important because doctors want to know about the whole history, and not just one test in a snapshot.
Other important questions the doctor will ask you:
- What is your family history of prostate cancer?
- Have you had any surgery on your abdomen?
- Do you have major medical issues?
Why is it important for the doctor to know about your medical issues? Because if you are a 52 years old man who has had a cardiac by-pass, diabetes, you have blood pressure and prostate cancer, the doctors may not be so aggressive because you have many co-morbidities. But if you are a 71 years old man and you are a marathon runner and you are healthy then the doctors need to look at these 2 patients in a completely different way. So, it is very tricky and that is why the experience of the doctor is very important. Getting a second opinion is always the key.
So, if you are diagnosed with prostate cancer, you can always call our center here at (212)-365-5000 and we are happy to give you a second opinion.
This second opinion can truly change your life and your quality of life!