One of the keys to coping with any difficult situation is to have sufficient information and knowledge of the facts to enable you to understand what you are facing and to make reasonably well-informed decisions. The first problem for most men when faced with a diagnosis of cancer is a very sketchy knowledge of what cancer is. Even if you have had previous contact with someone who has been treated for cancer, there is a high chance that you knew only a little about their condition. Knowledge is very important, because it gives you the power to take a more active role in the management of your disease – if you want to.

How much you decide to find out about your cancer is entirely dependent on you. Some people like to be told or read quite detailed technical information about their cancer. Others prefer to know only as much as they are told by their doctors and oncologists (specialist cancer doctors) and choose not to ask for more indepth information. In any case, a basic understanding of how cancer develops and some detail about your own cancer in particular will be of benefit to you and those close to you, if not at the beginning of your journey through treatment, then almost certainly later on.

This chapter looks at cancer in two ways:

General information about how cancer develops

Information about specific cancers.


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