Prostate Cancer Research Institute

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PCRI Decision Aide

Prostate Cancer is a family of diseases, which allow for many patient choices. There are no hard and fast rules that apply in most cases. It is important for you, the patient, to understand the staging procedures that help to define the extent and aggressiveness of your disease and the treatment options available. By understanding the current stage (and likely progression) of your cancer, you are best able to participate in your treatment decisions. With comprehensive staging, certain treatment options (or combinations) may be identified for further investigation while others may be ruled out. The selection of treatments should be made with full understanding of possible success rates and side-effects. The treatment selection should also consider your overall health and your quality-of-life values.

This decision aide is intended to help you locate and utilize information that is pertinent to your situation. Information referenced is provided by PCRI and other sources to empower you to take charge of your treatment plan.

PCRI provides information as a free, educational resource, to help patients understand their options to facilitate communication with their doctors and hopefully improve their outcomes. The information provided should not be considered or construed to be medical advice.

For more information on prostate cancer, contact the PCRI Helpline at 310-743-2110 or

If you have comments regarding this decision aide, please email them to:

The Basics

1. Your Support Network
To optimize your experience dealing with prostate cancer, you need a strong support network. This starts with a spouse, significant other, son or daughter who will learn with you and share the emotional journey. The network should extend to friends and associates. Some will be unsure of how to approach you so it helps to be open and candid with them. Many will rally around you to lend a hand or a prayer. It also includes the members of your medical team. Again, honest communication is the best way to cement this relationship. Another good source of comfort is a prostate cancer support group. It really helps to talk with people who have faced or are facing the problems that confront you. For access to groups in your area, go to the Support Groups page. You can also find knowledgeable and caring individuals to share information with via Internet Discussion Groups / Lists.

2. Your Medical File
We emphasize the importance of maintaining your own medical file. You should obtain copies of all medical reports and keep a log that you can share with any doctors you contact. One format is the PC Digest that originated with A good aid for preparing a PCD can be found at: The PCD description includes references to algorithms to assist with staging prostate cancer that can be found in the Software section. To aid you in tracking your testing and treatment, we have provided a number of sample forms in the Forms section.

3. Your Nutrition and Your Overall Health
A prostate cancer diagnosis is often wake-up call for men who may be neglecting their health. Prostate cancer and the treatments for it can cause a great strain on the body's defenses. You should prepare for a battle and get yourself into the best fighting shape possible. You will find that many of the suggestions for battling prostate cancer lead to life style changes that are beneficial for many of the health conditions that confront us as we age.
Some resources to consider:
• The PCRI pamphlet " What You Should Know About Prostate Cancer

4. PCRI Resources
• The PCRI Helpline
The mission of the PCRI Helpline is to help educate people about prostate cancer, to improve their communication with their doctors in order to arrive at the best possible outcomes.
PCRI Insights
Our newsletters provide articles by leading specialists in prostate cancer. The articles are also indexed by topic in PCRI Papers.
PCRI Pamphlets
Pamphlets are available on many topics and will be referred to later in the decision aide. To obtain copies of any pamphlets, contact the PCRI Helpline.
PCRI Audio and Video Tapes
PCRI has presented several conferences featuring some of the premier prostate cancer physicians and researchers. Audio and video tapes are available for many of the talks and panel sessions. These provide an excellent basis for individual education and constructing support group programs.
PCRI PowerPoint Lectures Some of the lectures presented at PCRI events are summarized with PowerPoint slides that can be viewed online.
Terminology and more
Understanding prostate cancer requires learning many new terms which are defined in the PCRI Glossary and the Acronyms And Abbreviations. We also provide a list of suggested Books to Read
Links to other Resources
PCRI provides links to a variety of the websites of many organizations. While we believe these organizations to be very reliable, we cannot validate the contents of their websites. It is up to you, with the help of your medical team, to evaluate this information and its relevance to your situation.

This is the outline of Decision Aide topics:

Basics of Prostate Cancer




Pre-Clinical Phase

Newly Diagnosed


Risk Assessment and Algorithms


Diagnostic Scanning

Local Therapies

Systemic Therapies

Androgen Deprivation Therapy

Androgen Independent PC

High Risk PC

Novel Therapies


Bone Integrity




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Prostate Cancer Research Institute (PCRI)


Material provided by PCRI is intended for educational purposes for discussion with your physician and should not be considered as medical advice. Information and opinions expressed on this website are not an endorsement by PCRI for any treatment, product or service.