A Patient's Guide to
Managing Hormone-Refractory Prostate Cancer
Chapter 3. Take Charge of
the Disease and the Treatments
The biggest problem with having HRPCa is that no one has a standard
treatment for it—much less, a cure. Most everyone has an opinion, but this
is too serious for anything but a well-researched approach. This cancer
needs an expert approach, and that’s your responsibility.
If there is no other medical input, the chances are that you will be advised
to undergo hormone therapy until it fails. Then you will be advised to take
mitoxantrone chemotherapy until that fails. And that’s it. But that’s not
the answer you need.
Although both those treatments work to varying degrees, you need a much more
extensive answer. Fair or not, the responsibility for finding the best
answer is yours. To get good answers you need to adopt a new approach to
being a patient—a pro-active, take-charge patient.
First, you must accept the responsibility for managing this disease and the
selecting the treatments. This is your life, and that gives you the right to
take control of this process.
Second, you need to seek out the best medical support. You need to build a
team to fight the cancer. Your point man will be an expert, not just in
cancer, but in prostate cancer. The strategy you develop with your expert
will be implemented through your local oncologist—the doc who write
prescriptions and gives injections. And the last man is a general
practitioner, who watches the condition of your overall health to keep you
from being blindsided by something nasty, like a heart attack.
Third, you need to get as smart as you can about HRPCa as quickly as you
can. This book will help you get through the jungle and give you an idea of
the path you need to take. Our web site and support list, which are free,
will provide you with HRPCa information and contacts throughout the world.
(Our support list members include participants from other countries outside
Fourth, you need to enlist all the psychological support available to you
for an extended battle. The most successful men are those who have a solid
backup of support—usually the family. This is also the time to find a local
support group, to ask your church to pray for you, and so on. Take all the
help you can get.
Fifth, you need to make your treatment plan and work it. There is so much
information out there, so much advice, that you will have a difficult time
sorting it out and deciding what to follow…what to discard. Ultimately, it’s
up to you to decide which advice to take, which to reject.
Last, you need to be the communicator among your team and support group.
This book will give you some help in communicating skillfully with your
medical team. It will also help you understand what medical data is
important in defining your disease.
This book and the HRPCa on-line support group will help direct you to the
best resources, according to our experience. We will help provide you with
ideas to present to your medical team. And we will share our research, our
experience, and our opinions with you as you learn to manage this disease.
Continue to Chapter 4