Prostate cancer is a disease that can go on for many years. During that time, men with the disease will have different issues needing to be addressed. From pain and symptom control to tips on healthy eating, good prostate cancer management requires a team effort of specialized healthcare professionals to achieve each man’s long-term goals for treating his disease.
To address different complications and problems men may experience, it’s important to have a multidisciplinary healthcare team available. These professionals are critical to the overall comprehensive care of men with prostate cancer. By working together, these medical providers help men receive the best care possible for treating prostate cancer helping prolong the length and quality of their lives.
The multidisciplinary healthcare team approach for prostate cancer
Chronic diseases, like prostate cancer, are best managed with a team of healthcare professionals with different specialties meeting the needs of these men. That’s why the multidisciplinary healthcare team approach works extremely well in the care and treatment of prostate cancer.
These medical providers will regularly be in contact with one another to discuss each individual case offering their own unique specialized approach to the management of prostate cancer.
Depending on whether prostate cancer is considered slow-growing or more aggressive, will determine which healthcare professionals may be part of this multidisciplinary team. During a man’s journey with prostate cancer, this team can offer various levels of support to meet their needs. For men with advanced prostate cancer, they will benefit from additional healthcare professionals in their overall care. It’s important that men and their loved ones develop a trusting relationship with their medical team to reduce stress and anxiety during this difficult time.
Here’s a look at the various prostate cancer healthcare professionals who may be part of this team:
Urologist: A urologist is a physician specializing in diseases of the male reproductive organs and male and female urinary tract. They play a key role in managing men with prostate cancer from diagnosis to treatment. All urologists are surgeons who can perform prostate cancer surgery.
Radiation oncologist: This physician specializes in using radiation to treat cancer. Some men with prostate cancer may receive radiation to delay the spread of cancer or to help relieve pain if cancer has spread beyond the prostate gland.
Medical oncologist: A medical oncologist is a physician specially trained to diagnose, stage, and treat cancer with chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, and other drugs. Generally, most men will work with their urologist but a medical oncologist can be helpful in the initial stages after a man has been diagnosed with prostate cancer.
Physical therapist: This healthcare professional helps men deal with the physical changes caused by cancer treatment. Physical therapists are important for helping men restore or maintain strength, mobility, and function to offset side effects of treatment such as bone weakening due to hormone therapy. They can also help manage or prevent side effects such as urinary incontinence by teaching men how to strengthen their pelvic floor muscles.
Dietitian: This member of the multidisciplinary team is an expert on providing nutritional requirements for each man. They can work with men to relieve cancer-related weight loss or gain by recommending food that provides adequate calories, vitamins, and protein. They can provide men with suggestions of healthy foods to eat along with recipes and a meal plan to follow to help overall health and strength.
Oncology social worker: The role of the oncology social worker is to help patients, families, and caregivers deal with the experience of facing cancer. Social workers are educated and skilled to assist with the psychological, social, emotional, and spiritual issues men have to face with prostate cancer. They can provide a wide range of counseling services and support helping to improve men’s quality of life.