There's no such thing as a small question when it comes to our health. Sure, the health care team has the medical knowledge, but you're the best judge of what your body needs. The more details you provide, the better you and your doctor can collaborate to develop a plan.
What we say and do can affect our care. And we can be more successful when we are well-informed and take an active role in our treatment. The more we know, the more capable we'll be to speak up for our needs.
By being open and transparent, you're helping yourself and a doctor you trust find a solution that's suited to your needs.
I've developed a very personal relationship with my doctor. I want him to look at me as just not a patient. I say, "If I was your son...If I was your brother...If I was your nephew, what advice would you give? What do you think I should do?"
Shannon Sharpe, Pro Football Hall of Famer, Host of Undisputed, Talk That Talk Ambassador, Prostate Cancer Survivor
Being proactive about our health is the best way to influence our care, and it requires speaking up for ourselves when necessary.
QUESTIONS TO ASK
When we ask questions, we advocate for ourselves. Questions invite a discussion between us and our doctors. Here are a few to keep in mind during your next visit:
- Are there any risks associated with prostate cancer (PC) screenings?
- What should I expect when getting screened for PC?
- How can I prepare for being screened?
- Will there be any costs associated with screening?
- When can I expect prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening test results?
- Will you help explain my results to me?
- If something is unusual, what are my next steps?
It takes preparation to succeed. It is important to educate ourselves about prostate cancer before discussing it with our doctor. That way, we can feel confident during our next visit.
As you advocate for your health, here are some suggestions for making sure that your questions are answered:
You deserve to know what's going on with your body and be empowered to make the right decisions. The first step to investing in your prostate health is talking with your doctor about screening.
Use the Talk That Talk tools with your doctor and ask questions. If you aren't getting the answers you need, speak with your friends and family for suggestions of doctors you can partner with. You can also research doctors who've had experience working with Black men's health.
WE MUST WORK AT UNDERSTANDING THE DISEASE AND HOW WE EXPLAIN IT TO BLACK MEN. WHAT WILL MOVE BLACK MEN TO ACTION IS MORE OPTIONS, MORE EDUCATION, AND DOCTORS COMMUNICATING THE OPTIONS FOR TREATMENT IS IMPORTANT.
Clarence M., Living with Prostate Cancer
OTHERS HAVE BEEN HERE. TALK WITH THEM.
You're not alone. It may seem challenging to find someone to talk to when you're worried about your prostate health, but many Black men have been where you are. Communities of Black men who have dealt with prostate health issues are out there and are open to sharing their experiences.
These men know exactly what you might be going through because they've been through it too. They know what it feels like not knowing what's next or how to talk to your family. By sharing our experiences and feelings, we can move forward — together.