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Team Approach To Treating Prostate Cancer

San Diego, California (NAPSI) - When it comes to prostate cancer, two or three heads may be  better than one.

For optimal care, men with prostate cancer often need the expertise of  several types of doctors and other health professionals. Called a  multidisciplinary team approach, or MDA, this type of approach has been shown  to be beneficial in breast cancer. Working with a multidisciplinary team  knowledgeable about the latest advances in prostate cancer treatment can help  optimize the treatment plan.

Approximately 240,000 American men are expected to be diagnosed with  prostate cancer in 2013, and are likely to encounter a range of treatments  involving multiple specialists along their journey. Through an MDA, all  specialists are working together toward the same goal—the patient’s  health.

The Prostate Cancer Team

Men typically learn they have prostate cancer from their urologist, who  then enlists the support of an MDA as soon as possible. In an MDA, all  treatments are discussed and tailored for each patient at every stage of the  disease.

The MDA for prostate cancer may involve the following:

• Urologist—a specialist in diseases of the genitourinary  tract, including urologic cancers

• Medical oncologist—a specialist who treats all kinds of  cancers and understands the different types of medicines used to treat  cancer, as well as their side effects

• Radiation oncologist—a specialist in the use of radiation  therapy to treat cancer

• Oncology nurse—supports many different aspects of care,  including managing side effects.

Other team members may include pathologists, psychologists, diagnostic  image specialists, social workers, nutritionists and pain management  specialists. Seeing the value of an MDA, many hospitals have established  multidisciplinary clinics that offer a “one-stop shop” for  prostate cancer care.

Questions to Ask Your Doctor About  the MDA

• Do you participate in an MDA to treat prostate cancer?

• What specialists will be included in my team?

• Who is in charge of coordinating my care?

• What happens if team members disagree about treatment options?

• Can you tell me about the recent advances in the field?

Benefits of MDA for Prostate Cancer  

Advances in prostate cancer treatment are helping patients live longer  lives and enjoy their daily activities. More new treatments may be available  soon, making treatment decisions even more complex.

“Different medical specialties bring unique expertise to the  treatment team,” said NealShore, M.D., FACS, a urologist in Myrtle Beach, S.C.   “With so many types of treatments now available for prostate cancer,  coordination among various medical disciplines is vital so that all  appropriate options are considered before the disease becomes overwhelming.”  

As the treatment landscape continues to evolve and expand, new programs  and resources are helping urology practices support the needs of their  patients with various stages of prostate cancer. In addition, using the MDA  can more quickly identify patients who may benefit from combined treatments  such as radiation and hormonal therapy together, or use of chemotherapy. Good  communication and ongoing interaction also offer patients an invaluable  resource for education, guidance and emotional support.

By working together and ensuring patients understand their options, the  MDA can devise treatment plans that are designed to offer the right treatment  to the right patient, by the right specialist at the right time.

Patients should speak with their doctor if they have any questions.