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Episode #5 - Living with Prostate Cancer

Steve:

Welcome back everyone to episode five of our Medical Minute podcast series where we will wrap up our discussion of prostate cancer. We started with exactly what is cancer, and we worked our way through early detection, treatment options, and what happens if first-line treatments fail. Today, we'll focus on living with prostate cancer, who should handle your case on an ongoing basis, to other patient resources that might be available to make the journey easier.


Steve:

Once again, my guest is my colleague, Jill Hunt, and our oncology nurse practitioner at Cincinnati Cancer Advisors. Jill has more than 20 years of oncology nursing experience. Welcome back, Jill.


Jill:

Thanks, Steve.


Steve:

You're welcome. Okay, so Jill, let's say, and we talked about this before, let's say I opted for either surgery or radiation as my first-line treatment, but I'm not cured at this point. So who should manage my case going forward? Should that be the, say, for example, the urologist that did my surgery or the radiation oncologist that did my radiation? Who should take over?


Jill:

So realistically at this point, you're always going to be friends with your urologist. The urologist that initially made the diagnosis, they are always going to be part of your care and part of your follow-up. Radiation oncologists tend to back out of the scene once the radiation is done. They may come back in at some point if there ever does need to be some additional radiation to another area. But for the most part, they're not your quarterback or your coach. Okay.


Jill:

But at this point if you've already done frontline treatment and you still have active disease or have had recurrence and metastatic disease, at this point a medical oncologist is going to get involved as well.


Steve:

Got it. I'm actually glad you brought that up because I don't think most people really have, unless you have a reason, and we've talked about this before, unless you have a reason to know about cancer, you just don't know about cancer. And that makes perfect sense. But I think even people that have had cancer, most people don't have a really good feel about what a medical oncologist is and what they do and how they differ from say, for example, the person that might have administered my first line treatment. So can you explain that a little bit? What does a medical oncologist do that's different?


Jill:

So a medical oncologist is really going to be the person that's driving your care. You have a radiation oncologist, a medical oncologist, a surgical oncologist, and then you can actually even break out into even more subspecialties of oncology.


Jill:

Radiation oncologists obviously are doing your radiation. Your surgical oncologist, those are surgeons who are specialized specifically in surgery for cancer patients. But your medical oncologist, they're going to be the ones that are ordering scans. They're going to be determining your next treatment option. They would be the ones that would be reviewing and searching for potential clinical trials. They really are the ones that call the shots. Your medical oncologist ultimately ends up being your quarterback.


Steve:

Okay. Got it. Okay. So I think where we want to wrap this thing up, especially with the journey we've taken so far, is on patient resources. So can someone, let's say, for example, if a guy has had a recurrence of his prostate cancer, can he come out and see Cincinnati Cancer Advisors?


Jill:

Absolutely. What we have found is that the patients who benefit the most for coming and seeing us at Cincinnati Cancer Advisors, are patients who are initially diagnosed, who have a ton of questions and just need time processing and understanding their diagnosis and their treatment options. But also patients who have already been diagnosed, who have gone through potentially one or two lines of treatment and their disease is progressing and they have questions on what other treatment options do they have.


Jill:

So there's multiple different levels during the cancer journey, that it's appropriate to come and see us. If you are a cancer patient and you find yourself in a setting where you have a question, whether it's, where am I now, or what's next, we absolutely are appropriate in that setting to help answer those questions.


Steve:

Awesome. Okay, great. We'll touch quickly on, I think, some other things that can be done to help some guys. So there's an organization that I am aware of that... Jill was supposed to handle this question by the way.


Jill:

Yes.


Steve:

That's why she's laughing. But anyway, that's okay. But there's an organization I'm involved with called Zero Prostate Cancer. And so they're a national organization out of Washington, DC. They do a lot by way of patient, not care, but resources, assistance. And what they do that's really nice is they do lobbying as well to increase prostate cancer funding.


Steve:

And so that's one resource that guys with prostate cancer can connect with, really anywhere on the spectrum. And then, so Prostate Cancer Foundation does a really great job on patient education. So they do one minute video segments and things like that. So I would check them out as well. What else, Jill?


Jill:

Those both sound like really good organizations, but what about patients who find themselves in a situation where they need financial assistance or direction in finding the best price on their meds or finding any type of financial assistance in their setting?


Steve:

I mean, fantastic question. And as you know, I mean, you know about my situation, where I'd be if I didn't have good insurance, which is staring down the barrel of a $12,000 a month prescription. But I'm glad you brought this up because there's an organization, and their name is Patient Advocate Foundation, and they're out of Hampton, Virginia. And we actually have a strategic partnership with them where we can connect our patients to basically the services that they provide.


Steve:

So they provide that exact type of service, insurance navigation, contesting insurance denials, even other sources of public assistance to things to keep from having your heat turned off, that kind of thing. Critically important services. And so we provide our service through them and they have over 20 years of experience of helping people with chronic or debilitating or life threatening diseases. So that's another service we can provide if people want to contact us. So thanks for bringing that one up.


Steve:

Okay. So I think we will wrap this up. We'll wrap up prostate cancer. We're going to have a little bit of a surprise next week and a pretty big announcement that we'll make. And if we're lucky, we'll have a special guest here. We'll see if said special guest can make it or not. So anyway, thanks everybody. It's great. This has been great. And we're going to keep doing this. Like I said before, we're not going away. So you need to watch. Thanks everybody. Take care.

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