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.

Shannon Sharpe smiling

“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 Club Shay Shay,
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:

Prostate exam icon


  • 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?
Checklist icon


  • 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?
Healthcare professional (HCP) listening to a man's chest with a stethoscope

Prepare to Talk Your Talk

Find more by downloading this guide. The next time you head into the doctor’s office, take it with you to keep the conversation going. Get the answers you need.

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:

Pamphlet icon

Step 1

Know the Facts: Research and read up on prostate cancer from trusted resources. Talk your talk with other men in your circle who may have experienced prostate cancer. They understand the importance of investing in prostate health, and they will be able to provide their own perspective.

Join Talk That Talk Conversations

Test tube vial icon

Step 2

Talk to Your Doctor About PSA (prostate-specific antigen) Screenings: No matter when our next health appointment is, if we’re 40 or older, we should talk to our doctors about a PSA blood test. Regular conversations with our doctors about our prostate health should become a part of our routine care. We might not have a primary doctor yet, but our insurance, local hospital, or neighborhood clinic can help us find one.

Clock icon

Step 3

Prepare Ahead of Time: Write down all the questions you want to ask your doctor about your prostate health and bring them with you to the appointment. Ask questions until you feel that your concerns have been addressed. And if your questions haven’t been addressed, you’re allowed to find a second opinion.

How to Talk That Talk with your doctor

Chat bubble icons

Step 4

Be Ready to Share: Show up to your appointment ready, honest, and open. Don’t be afraid to provide details that you may not even think are important — your doctors might need these details to provide you with personalized care. Remember, if you don’t understand something your doctor has said, you can always ask them to clarify what they mean.

Healthcare professional (HCP) icon with men's prostate icon

Step 5

Follow Up: If your prostate exam reveals something unusual, ask for a referral to a specialist, like a urologist, as soon as you receive the results. You might need additional tests to better understand your prostate health.

Advocate to see a specialist

Image of your talk your walk handbook: your personal prostate health guide

Your Talk, Your Walk  Handbook

This free tool makes it easy for you to manage your prostate health. You build your guide with the information you need to make informed decisions.

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.

Man with a beard and hat smiling

“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

Two men sitting on steps together talking and drinking coffee

Talk That Talk™ With Your Community

The more we lead by example and open up, the more comfortable other men will feel about doing the same. Get tips on how to self-advocate and build your circle of trust to stay on top of your prostate health.

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.

It’s possible that we avoid doing something about prostate cancer (PC) because we’re concerned that treatment might impact our sexual performance.

Don’t hesitate to bring your concerns about the possible sexual side effects that can result from a PC treatment to your doctor. Treating PC doesn’t mean that your sex life is coming to an end.

Possible changes can include:

Erection changes icon

Erection changes

Hormone therapy lowers your testosterone, and that can make it difficult to have and maintain an erection. This is called erectile dysfunction (ED), and there are a lot of ways to deal with it.

Things you can do:

  • Talk to your doctor about oral medicines. What’s happening may be temporary and could get better in time.
  • Talk with your partner about your symptoms and what you’re feeling so they know and can be supportive.

Dry orgasm icon

Dry orgasms

if you’ve had radical PC surgery, your prostate and two other glands (seminal vesicles) are removed. You will no longer be able to make semen and your orgasms may now be “dry.”

After surgery, orgasms for most men are still pleasurable. Some men may experience difficulties with orgasming.

Things you can do:

  • Before PC surgery, talk with your partner and doctor if you plan to have more children in the future. There are medical options that preserve your semen for use later.
  • If you experience pain after surgery, the nerves in that area may have been affected. Talk to your doctor about medicines you can take to help.

Urinary issues icon

Urinary issues

during PC surgery, the muscles around the prostate that help control the release of urine can be damaged, causing you to have trouble controlling the flow. It may leak when you cough, laugh, sneeze, or exercise, or it could be harder to fully empty your bladder.

Your urine stream may be weaker because scar tissue from surgery is blocking the passage. You may also start feeling a sudden and intense need to urinate. It is rare for men to lose full control of their bladder, and for many, urine issues stop after several weeks or a few months as the muscles heal and regain strength after surgery.

Things you can do:

  • Urinate as soon as you feel the need to go
  • Keep an eye on it and let your doctor know if it gets any worse

These sexual issues may not be easy to face, but treating your PC to help you be around to share your life with your loved ones is the ultimate goal — and nothing should get in the way of that.

Remember: Many side effects are temporary. Time and treatment options can help with recovering sexual ability.