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

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Ah, Yes. . .Your Medical Records

When you are diagnosed with prostate cancer, keeping a folder with all your medical records can be a challenge, especially when you are working with several doctors and addressing different health concerns. But that is also when it is most important, both for your own understanding and safety, and for the use of any specialists you might want to consult for a second opinion.

The following is a list of the variety of information you need to preserve in your medical folder (MMF):

* A Chronological Log of all your PSA tests with dates, and note in the log any general health changes that might impact your PSA.

*  A copy of your urologist's notes that give the results of your Digital Rectal Exam (DRE).

*  A copy of your urologist's Transrectal Ultrasound (TRUS) report that lists the size of your prostate.

*  A copy of your Biopsy Pathology Report. This should provide your Gleason Score, how many cores were positive for cancer, the extent of disease in the cores, and the location of the cancer in the prostate gland.

*  Copies of the radiology reports of any scans (color Doppler ultrasound, bone, CT, MRI), and if available, digital copies of the actual scans.

*  Copies of all information regarding your medical history, including any current (unrelated to the prostate cancer) health problems you may be dealing with, even if they seem minor.

*  A list of all your medications (including the dosages), and a list of any over-the-counter supplements you are taking.

It is also wise to retrieve your biopsy slides from the pathologist and send them to a world-class cancer treatment center, such as MD Anderson, Johns HopkinsSloan Kettering, Saint John's, for a second opinion. In fact if you live in a small town or in the country, if possible you should get yourself to a urologist or oncologist specializing in prostate cancer at one of the major centers for a consultation before making a treatment decision.

Keeping this medical record not only gives you a feeling of control, but it is extremely helpful when you consult different specialists. It is also something your partner can help you create. Giving your partner something constructive to do can help her (or him) deal with the worry they inevitably feel over your diagnosis.

I personally feel very strongly about the importance of keeping and organizing all your medical information when dealing with prostate cancer because I didn't do it. And I know how often I and my doctors have found the MMF invaluable support. Truly, we are partners with our oncologists and our urologists. Be an active partner.


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