HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONALS INVOLVED IN THE DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT OF PROSTATE CANCER
Diagnosing and treating prostate cancer involves a number of different healthcare professionals. Screening for prostate cancer involves drawing blood for a PSA test. This may be done by a nurse, doctor or by a phlebotomist ( a healthcare assistant trained to draw blood). Ideally screening should also include a digital rectal examination done by a medical doctor. The laboratory will send the results to your general practitioner, professional nurse or primary healthcare worker if the tests were done by a clinic. If there is a problem you may be referred to a urologist who is a medical specialist that deals with problems of the male reproductive system and the urinary system of both men and women. The urologist may send you to a radiologist for an MRI or special kinds of scans and X-Rays which will help to see if the cancer has spread to other parts of your body. Sometimes you may be sent to a nuclear medicine specialist who will be able to do specialised tests using radio isotopes which can show where the cancer has spread to. Urologists may also refer you to an oncologist. Oncologists are medical specialists that work with cancer, and depending on their training, they treat cancer systemically using chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, biological therapy, and targeted therapy (medical oncologists) or they use radiotherapy (clinical and radiation oncologists). To assist with the side effects of radiation and surgical treatments you may be referred to a sexologist if you are experiencing erectile dysfunction or to an incontinence practitioner if you experience ongoing urinary incontinence (leaking of urine). Some physiotherapists are also specially trained in pelvic floor problems and can also assist with these problems. So as you can see, diagnosing and treating prostate cancer requires a multidisciplinary team of healthcare practitioners.