Thursday, August 6, 2009

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

Early detection and awareness of treatment options are critical for patients.

Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer and the second leading cancer killer among American men (next to lung); one in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime; estimates are that approximately 30,000 men in the U.S. will die of prostate cancer this year,* but people aren’t talking about it. Dr. Vahan Kassabian of Georgia Urology is working to increase the awareness and conversation, beginning with September’s Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.

Prostate cancer can be a very treatable cancer, if detected before it has spread to other organs. Following a diagnosis, patients are faced with information about a variety of treatment options, from minimally invasive choices to surgery. There is no longer a gold standard for treating prostate cancer, as many variables go into determining a patient’s best treatment option, so the time following a diagnosis can be particularly scary and confusing.

“I encourage all my patients to be their own advocates and learn as much as they can about treating their prostate cancer,” said Dr. Vahan Kassabian. “I provide a solid overview of the treatments available depending on each individual’s case, but I also want to hear from my patients and what’s important to them, beyond just getting rid of the cancer.”

Following a diagnosis, prostate cancer patients should learn the answers to the following questions:

· Is my cancer confined to my prostate?
· What are the chances it has spread?
· Do I need additional tests?
· What treatment options might be suitable for me? Why?
· What is the likelihood I’ll have problems with incontinence and impotence?
· Does the likelihood decrease with any particular treatment?
· What else should I consider when deciding on a treatment?
· What are the chances of my cancer coming back with the various treatment options?
· If the cancer does come back, are all the same treatment options still available to me?

For more information about Prostate Cancer Awareness Month and Dr. Kassabian, please visit
*American Cancer Society 2009 statistics
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