Prostate Cancer Diagnosis, Treatment, and Support

prostate cancer diagnosis treatment and support
This page was originally published December 20, 2021 and updated November 21, 2022.

According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), prostate cancer is the second most common type of cancer in American men (skin cancer is the first). The ACS estimates that there will be 268,490 new cases of prostate cancer in the United States in 2022. From these recent studies, it is estimated that one in nine men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point in their lifetime. While this number may seem high, it’s important to remember that most men with prostate cancer do not die from the disease. In fact, statistics show the 5-year relative survival rate for prostate cancer is 90%.

In this blog post, we’ll cover diagnosis, treatment, and support options for prostate cancer patients in the USA. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with this disease, please know help is available. From financial support to vacations and care packages, the national nonprofits we’ve included below can assist you today. There is never a charge to use their services. Please reach out and get the help you and your family deserve. ❤️

Symptoms of Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer often doesn’t cause any symptoms in its early stages. However, as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention outlines, there are some key symptoms to be aware of, including:

  • Trouble urinating
  • Decreased force in the stream of urine
  • Blood in urine
  • Painful ejaculation
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Pain in the back, hips, or pelvis
  • Shortness of breath

More information about specific symptoms of prostate cancer can be found on the CDC website here. If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s important to see a doctor so that they can rule out other potential causes and provide you with a proper diagnosis, care and follow up.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Prostate Cancer

If your doctor suspects you may have prostate cancer, they will likely order a blood test, a digital rectal exam, as well as a transrectal ultrasound or MRI. If any of these tests comes back positive, your doctor will probably order a biopsy to confirm the diagnosis.

While there is no one-size-fits-all treatment, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) describes several options that usually used to treat prostate cancer including surgery, radiation therapy, hormone therapy, and watchful waiting. As the NCI reports, the two most common types of surgery used to treat prostate cancer are radical prostatectomy and transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP). Radical prostatectomy involves removing the entire prostate gland, as well as some surrounding tissue. TURP involves removing part of the prostate gland through the urethra (the tube that carries urine from the bladder out of the body). There are two types of radiation therapy that are typically used: external beam radiation therapy and brachytherapy. External beam radiation therapy uses a machine to deliver the high-energy beams to the cancer cells, while brachytherapy involves placing radioactive material in close proximity to the cancer cells. Hormone therapy is another treatment option that works by lowering the levels of testosterone in the body, which can stop or slow the growth of cancer cells. In some cases, doctors may recommend a strategy of watchful waiting which is typically used for men who have slow-growing forms of prostate cancer that are not causing any symptoms. With watchful waiting, doctors monitor the patient closely to look for any changes in their condition.

The best treatment option for you will depend on a number of factors, including the stage and grade of your cancer, your overall health, and your personal preferences. If you have been diagnosed with prostate cancer, be sure to talk to your doctor about all of your treatment options so that you can make an informed decision about your care.

Six National Organizations for Prostate Cancer Patients

No matter what treatment option you choose, it’s important to know that you’re not alone in the fight. While a diagnosis of prostate cancer can be unnerving, there are many national nonprofit organizations ready to help you take control of your care and finances while providing uplifting emotional support during this trying time. Here are six national support organizations for prostate cancer patients and their families available at zero cost in the USA. For more free products, programs, and services for prostate cancer patients, please visit our national directory here

1. PAF Prostate Cancer Co-Pay Relief

The Prostate Cancer Co-pay Relief fund is a financial assistance program offered by the Patient Advocate Foundation (PAF), a national nonprofit that helps cover the costs of co-pays, co-insurance, & deductibles for prostate cancer patients in the USA. Eligible applicants must reside and receive treatment in the United States and earn less than 400% of Federal Poverty Level guidelines (FPL). Maximum award is $3500 per year. To apply for this program, please visit this link on the Patient Advocate Foundation website. 

❤️ For even more co-pay programs, please visit this section of our national directory.

2. Exact Science Genomic Access Program (GAP)

The Exact Science GAP program helps prostate cancer patients with insurance or without get access to genomic testing. This testing can help personalize your treatment plan. Eligibility for this free testing program is based on financial need. All applicants must be USA residents and seeking care in the United States. To use the online calculator to see if you qualify for free testing and to download the Financial Assistance Disclosure and Application Form, please visit this link on the Exact Science website and scroll to the bottom for the eligibility tool.

❤️ Additional no-cost national medical programs for cancer patients is available here.

3. ZERO360 Pro Support

The ZERO360 program provides case management assistance for men anywhere in the USA who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer.  The goal of the ZERO360 program is to help with the physical, financial, practical, and emotional needs of those diagnosed as well as their family members and caregivers. This is a free program to help you and your family to navigate all aspects of the prostate cancer journey.  Get help with prescriptions, copays, access to care and more. Visit this page to complete the online form for assistance or get help over the phone by calling toll-free (844) 244-1309.

❤️ More professional support programs are included in our online links here.

4. Camp Good Days Free Weekend Retreat

The Men’s Prostate Cancer Program is a special weekend retreat that provides an opportunity for patients and families to network, get support, exchange ideas, and attend information sessions together, all in a beautiful and inspiring setting that provides the opportunity for fun and relaxation. To apply for this free weekend respite for prostate cancer patients and families in the USA, please visit this link.

❤️ Please visit this link for a listing of free vacations for all cancer patients in the USA.

5. Fans for the Cure Online Support Group

Free virtual online support group for those diagnosed with prostate cancer. Participants get together online via Zoom to share experiences, support each other, and enjoy the company of other men on a journey through prostate cancer. Network with others who share a similar journey and understand just what you are going through. Support is so critical during and after a prostate cancer diagnosis. This no-cost program will put you in touch with others on the same journey. To view and register for the next upcoming session, please visit this link.

6. Us TOO International Peer Support Program

The Us TOO International Prostate Cancer Education and Support Network offers free support programs for prostate cancer patients and their families. These include educational materials, online chat rooms, and local support groups. Free peer support program for prostate cancer patients via telephone, email, video chat, and face-to-face options. This program matches prostate cancer patients with those who have had similar experiences and can offer understanding and information because they have been down the very same road. To request a match, please visit this page.

❤️ More specialized peer support programs are available at no cost here in our national directory.

More Support for Prostate Cancer Patients in the USA

Cancer is a scary word. It brings with it so many unknowns. It is important to seek help from people who have shared a similar path and understand the many burdens that accompany a diagnosis.  If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with prostate cancer, there are many specialized resources available to help you cope with the disease. From financial help to emotional support these national organizations exist to serve prostate cancer patients and families across the USA all at zero cost. Please reach out to get the help you and your family deserve today. If you need additional support, please check out our complete list of free programs, products, and services just for prostate cancer patients here. ❤️

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Cancer Care News is a non-profit 501(c)(3) sharing evidence-based cancer updates & financial resources for patients & families in the USA. Please share the information you find helpful with others in need.