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Prostate and Urological Health

The Value of Shared Decision-Making

Marty Chakoian

Support Group Leader and Chair, Board of Directors, Us TOO International

Although a cancer diagnosis can make you feel alone, you never are. Shared decision-making can help you make confident treatment decisions.

For most men, prostate cancer is a slowly progressing disease with many decisions to make. Patients usually have time to gather information and take charge of those important treatment decisions. But those decisions can be complicated and stressful. Decisions might include: Should I get a PSA test? What does my PSA score mean? Should I have a biopsy? Do I need treatment? What treatment is best for me? Surgery? Radiation? Active surveillance? Which doctor would best provide the treatment I have chosen? Should I get a genetic test? What should I tell family members?

These choices can be overwhelming. Fortunately, we don’t have to make the decisions alone. We can get advice and support from trusted sources, our shared decision team.

Our medical team

When you see your doctor, physician’s assistant, or nurse, arm yourself with questions you have thought of in advance. Question whatever answers you don’t understand. Never hesitate to get a second or even third opinion before making an important treatment decision.

Our caregivers

Be open and direct with your spouse, partner, or other caregiver, and listen to their concerns. Your decisions will affect them. If possible, bring them along to your medical appointments to help ask questions and take notes.

Our research

The internet is full of information and advice for prostate cancer patients. Choose trusted organizations such as Us TOO and ZERO for information and decision guides that have been vetted by medical professionals.

Our support group members

When you attend a support group with other prostate cancer patients, you get the benefit of their real-world experience from the patient’s perspective. What worked for them? What didn’t? What would they do differently? You can find a virtual or in-person support group at

Ultimately, the decisions we make about our bodies, our health, and our lives belong to us. But by sharing our concerns with our medical team, our caregivers, and with others who have faced these same challenges, we can make informed decisions with courage and with confidence.

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