The co-authors of Invasion of the Prostate Snatchers, blog alternate posts weekly. We invite you to post your comments.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A New Model of Treatment


Once you have been diagnosed with prostate cancer, I can’t stress too often the importance of being an active participant in your own cancer care.

All too often, the old model of care involved rushing mindlessly into whatever radical treatment your doctor recommended, often without understanding your options, and nervously hoping that the treatment the urologist chose would get rid of the cancer. The entire process was focused on the tumor; minimal attention was given to you as a person, or to the underlying factors that may have predisposed you to getting the prostate cancer in the first place. In fact you were, as we say nowadays, “disempowered”- you played no role in your own healing.

Conversely, the emerging new model of cancer care recognizes the important role you can, and should, play in your recovery. The emerging model understands that simply attacking the cancer is not enough; that when you feel empowered, when you regain a sense of control by engaging in your own recovery, it optimizes your body’s healing potential. Unfortunately, not all cancer specialists have adopted the new model.

So now that you know for sure that you’ve got prostate cancer,  what do you need to do?

First, find a cancer doctor who gives you confidence, listens to you, and who understands that you need to take the central role in your treatment choices and recovery process.  Then, do your own “due diligence” thoroughly research all your treatment options, check, and recheck with a second opinion your doctor’s recommendations, and  only then, choose the treatment program you believe in.

Equally important, your role in your recovery doesn’t stop with your choice of treatment. Cancer survivors agree that taking charge of their entire health and well-being by focusing on nutrition, exercise, support-and-attitude, enhanced their immune system and laid the foundation of the healing process.

The emphasis on lifestyle choices has been one of the most significant shifts in cancer care in the last decade. A cancer diagnosis is a heads-up to launch a nutritional makeover, and a regular, moderate exercise program. Nothing extreme is called for.  But it’s not enough to depend solely on medical treatment to fight your cancer.

When it comes to support and attitude I realize I’m getting into territory where most men are inclined to think, “B.S!”  But plenty of research demonstrates the benefits of supportive friendships, and intimate relationships that support and nurture us. And a great many cancer survivors report that they a direct link between a positive attitude and successful recovery.

The emerging model of cancer care recognizes that psychological and emotional states are as important to your healing as nutrition and exercise. A sense of optimism and hope strengthen and inspire the will to live, and actually impact the body on a physiological level. Inevitably there will be times during treatment when you feel fearful, depressed, exhausted and yes, hopeless. When that happens, instead of going into denial, allow yourself to feel the feelings, but refuse to get stuck in negativity. Surround yourself with supportive friends, believe in your treatment, and know that you are making lifestyle choices that support your healing.

It cannot be stated too often: reclaiming a sense of being in charge of your life and your health provide a vitally important foundation for the healing process— and the rest of your life.

1 comment:

Prostate Oncology Specialists said...

Join us June 26, at 7:00pm, as author, Mark Scholz, MD, discusses men's health and his book "Invasion of the Prostate Snatchers" at Barnes and Noble, Long Beach Marina Pacifica. For more information: