Making Your Treatment Decision - Prostate Cancer Patient Interview with Andy Schwartz
Andy Schwartz, a prostate cancer advocate, and survivor answers a series of questions and explains the importance of seeking information to better prepare yourself for prostate cancer treatment.
1. How did you go about making your treatment decision?
2. Did you feel that you had an adequate understanding of all the pros and cons of each treatment that was available to you?
3. Is there anything that you would do differently in going about making your decision if you were to do it again?
4. Looking back, what advice would you give yourself as a newly diagnosed cancer patient?
Andy Schwartz - Prostate Cancer Survivor and Patient Advocate
Andy Schwartz: I'm Andy Schwartz, and I'm here because I'm a cancer survivor. And I'm here to help you, Chuck.
Well, there's two levels. There was my first time I had to decide, which was 2005. And I just moved in with my girlfriend, and we were about to get married. So the side effects really were important to me. And I went about talking to every single person I could who had prostate cancer. I'm a lawyer. I knew the preeminent medical malpractice defense attorney in our county was a prostate cancer survivor. I went right to him and he was fantastic.
I live in the Bay Area, so I had access to some of the best doctors around and I saw them. And I didn't want to have surgery. I talked to all the surgeons. They said I didn't need surgery. And I didn't have it. And I don't regret not having it, despite the situation I find myself in now.
I did a lot of vetting. I spent a lot of time doing research, reading, and talking to people. I couldn't talk enough to the people who had prostate cancer. I heard all the stories, I heard about all the side effects and I had more than adequate information before I made my decision.
I've given that a lot of thought in light of my situation, and the answer is no. I think I made the right call. You don't like to second guess yourself. But I've led a great life. I've been diagnosed, what is it now, 14 years out. And life is good, despite this. And so, no, I don't have any regrets.
I don't know that I'd give any different advice than I give myself the last time. Just get as much information as you can. The most important thing I think is talk to people who've been down this road before. I can't tell you the number of people I spoke to. And anytime anybody... I'm a very private person, I don't like talking about this stuff unless the people need to know about it, and then I will talk their ears off. Because of my personal experience... I can talk about it. And I don't mind talking about it and I just think you can't talk to enough people. Talk to the doctors for sure, but talk to the people who've been through it also, equally as much.