What to look for when choosing a urologist to treat prostate cancer

Oct 31, 2023
What to look for when choosing a urologist to treat prostate cancer

When it comes to prostate cancer treatment, patients can expect a team of medical experts from various disciplines to oversee their care. This is standard practice at cancer treatment centers throughout the United States. For men recently diagnosed with prostate cancer, assembling a team of top medical professionals to ensure the best possible outcome is vital. A urologist is a crucial team member, but how can men choose the right one?

What to look for when choosing a urologist

When battling prostate cancer, men must select a urologist who is well-versed in this disease, just as they would choose the best mechanic to fix their car. Although all urologists can treat prostate cancer, it’s best to opt for one who specializes in working with prostate cancer patients. To help make the selection process easier, here are some tips to remember when choosing a urologist for prostate cancer treatment.

What are their skill set and competence?

No matter what needs to be fixed, always seeking the best available option is essential. A urologist oversees the health and function of male reproductive organs, including the penis, testes, scrotum, and prostate. Urologists have extensive education, and some specialize in areas such as urologic oncology, focusing on treating men with prostate cancer. If a man has this disease, it’s crucial to find a urologist who thoroughly understands prostate cancer and can apply that knowledge to provide the best care.

If a man is considering having his prostate surgically removed, it’s crucial to choose a urologist with experience performing this type of surgery. To ensure they make an informed decision, men should ask the urologist some basic questions.

How many surgeries have they completed?

Do they perform robotic-assisted laparoscopic prostatectomy? If so, what is their complication rate, and what is their success rate – the success rate is defined as removing the entire prostate while preserving urinary continence and sexual functioning. 

Ask for references. The best sign of a good urologist is what their patients say about them. They have opinions, and their views can sway your decision.

Do they display compassion?

Many cancer patients have shared unpleasant experiences with doctors who are dismissive and lack empathy. A compassionate and caring physician can make a significant impact when dealing with a frightening diagnosis. Men may not necessarily prefer an overly emotional doctor but rather one who takes the time to listen shows genuine concern, comprehends what men need from them, and assists in making major treatment decisions while ensuring that they feel comfortable with their choices.

Is the doctor approachable?

Being approachable is essential in all aspects of life. Cancer patients require a doctor they can easily reach out to without feeling intimidated. To determine a doctor’s approachability, here are some factors to consider:

  • Do they make eye contact by looking directly at you when speaking or listening?
  • Do they say your name or ask about your family/life, showing a connection with you?
  • Do they communicate, explain procedures, and use the time to go over pre- and post-care instructions?
  • Do they smile at you, creating a positive atmosphere?
  • Do they provide handouts or have diagrams or pictures on the wall to help patients visualize where the problem is?
  • Do they allow you to consider a medical decision or weigh other treatment options without pressure?
  • Do they respond promptly to phone calls or answer questions by email?
  • Do they respect your time and allow enough time to explain procedures and answer questions thoroughly?
  • Do they return as soon as possible with a diagnosis, set up treatment schedules, or get medications filled?

Does the doctor allow the patient to get a second opinion?

It is common and acceptable for men to seek a second opinion from a doctor, especially when it comes to a cancer diagnosis that involves numerous decisions and can be challenging to navigate. Doctors need to prioritize making their patients feel at ease with their choices, which includes encouraging them to seek a second opinion. Some oncology physicians will proactively advise their patients to obtain a second opinion to support them on their cancer journey.

If a man asks for a second opinion and the doctor takes offense, it’s a sign that the doctor may not be the right fit for them. A competent and confident urologist should not feel offended and will prioritize providing the most effective and safe treatment to their patients.


Dr. David Samadi is the Director of Men’s Health and Urologic Oncology at St. Francis Hospital in Long Island. He’s a renowned and highly successful board certified Urologic Oncologist Expert and Robotic Surgeon in New York City, regarded as one of the leading prostate surgeons in the U.S., with a vast expertise in prostate cancer treatment and Robotic-Assisted Laparoscopic Prostatectomy.  Dr. Samadi is a medical contributor to NewsMax TV and is also the author of The Ultimate MANual, Dr. Samadi’s Guide to Men’s Health and Wellness, available online both on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Visit Dr. Samadi’s websites at robotic oncology and prostate cancer 911.