fostering the humanistic practice of medicine publishing personal accounts of illness and healing encouraging health care advocacy

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fostering the humanistic practice of medicine publishing personal accounts of illness and healing encouraging health care advocacy

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Coping with the Present

 
I was diagnosed with prostate cancer a few years ago. I did my best to get all the information I needed through research and information, but the thought of having cancer scared me. So I listened to everything my doctor had to say–including that I could have either chemotherapy or surgery, but that with surgery, he would be more likely to get all of the cancer, since it had not spread beyond my prostate. I chose surgery.
 
 
But what I did not know–what my doctor did not tell me–is that there is also a treatment choice called structured observation, meaning I could be monitored to see if the cancer was spreading rapidly or not. He also did not inform me that prostate cancer is very often a slow-growing cancer, and that I could well have lived with my cancer for many years without either chemo or surgery.
 
The complications that I have experienced since my surgery have been very difficult and emotional for me, as they have included erectile dysfunction and urinary incontinence. I was very upset, when I learned about the structured observation alternative, that I had not known about it before I chose surgery.
 
However, I have had to learn to accept and cope with where I am now–that’s life. I just wish I had been informed by my doctor that I had more choices. My complications have improved, but I still wish I had been told the truth.
 
Anonymous

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