Jelle Barentsz is hoogleraar radiologie, verbonden aan het Radboud ziekenhuis in Nijmegen. Hij geeft uitleg over de gang van zaken bij het vermoeden van prostaatkanker. Hij dringt aan op assertiviteit van de patiënt. Vraag de dokter gerust waarom hij denkt dat hij goed is, het gaat per slot van rekening om je leven!

Interview in English:

I’m Jelle Barentsz. I’m a radiologist. Professor of radiology and I fight cancer with images. I
show the patient if they have cancer and if they do, where it is. I do this by assessing test
results, but also by introducing new innovations. Where can I, with my professional
experience, knowledge and skills, do the most for the patient? I soon ended up working in
the prostate field. I saw what was being done with diagnostics and I thought I could do
something about it. Yes, the patient often comes in through the family doctor. The general
practitioner has a PSA test done at the patient’s request. That means a prostate-specific
antigen. It’s a substance in the blood, a substance you have if you have prostate cancer, but
also if the prostate is enlarged, or if there is a benign inflammation. If you have an elevated
level then yes you need to do further tests. The doctor will refer the puzzled patient to our
department and within a week they can go to the prostate diagnosis centre, PDC. And what
happens then? Then we do an MRI on the Wednesday and if the MRI is good, if it doesn’t
show cancer, which is the case in almost 60% of the cases, then the patient will hear that in
the afternoon and then they will hear that “everything’s ok, you can go home reassured. The
PSA increase is due to an enlargement of the prostate and we want you to have another
PSA in a year’s time. So that we can keep an eye on things. For the MRI the patient comes
to what we call the nurse practitioner under supervision of the urologist. The nurse
practitioner will do the entire examination inserting their finger into the anus to feel the

prostate for a moment. We’ll do the blood levels again, because we want that to be
standardized and the patient will be asked about all kinds of things and one of the important
things is whether there is any history of prostrate cancer in the family. And of course any
possible complaints the patient may have. Think before you come in. It actually surprises me
sometimes. When we buy a car, we go to the consumer guide and take a good look at what
we want or how much it costs, but when it comes to our life, we follow doctors like sheep. So
my first advice is to be as assertive as possible. Ask the doctor how good they are. Be
assertive and try to be a bit inventive. Dare, dare to stand up for yourself, because after all
it’s your life and your health that are at stake.