A diagnosis of castrate-resistant prostate cancer can send your life into a tailspin. This is where an oncologist who focuses on prostate cancer can be of great help.
Men with advanced cancer should search for an oncologist early, before there are any symptoms such as bone pain. The oncologist you’re looking for is one who is comfortable not just treating the advanced stages of prostate cancer but who will also try to prevent the development of metastases.
Treatment for advanced prostate cancer is continually evolving, with new therapies emerging from clinical trials; many of these therapies first were tested and are now offered at the more than 60 comprehensive cancer centers around the country.
Here are some tips for locating an oncologist who can help you:
• Check with the local Comprehensive Cancer Center in your area. You will have a choice of doctors to speak with about your particular issues. (See “What is a Comprehensive Cancer Center?” below.)
• Contact your local American Cancer Society (ACS). The ACS will have a list of the cancer centers and facilities in the area that deal with your diagnosis.
• Check with the American College of Surgeons to find a cancer center in your area.
• A local prostate cancer support group can be very helpful.
• Ask friends for recommendations. Speak with friends who have a similar diagnosis and have already gone through treatment, and ask them for a recommendation.
What is a comprehensive cancer center?
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) identifies certain medical centers as comprehensive cancer centers because they meet special requirements.
There are currently 69 comprehensive cancer centers in the United States, located in located in 35 states and the District of Columbia. Receiving the NCI designation places these cancer centers among the top 4 percent of the approximately 1,500 cancer centers in the United States.
To receive the designation of a comprehensive centers, a cancer center must:
• Take part in clinical trials (carefully controlled human studies of new treatments)
• Study cancer prevention and control in large groups of people
• Do basic laboratory research (studies on cells or animals)
• Offer cancer information services
• Have mental health and social services (psychosocial support services) available
Learn more about advanced prostate cancer therapies.