10 Tips For Living with Prostate Cancer

There’s not a single way to deal with a diagnosis such as cancer.

It is always concerning and causes shock to the cancer patient and their family.

Doctors may try to calm you down, saying that prostate cancer usually grows slowly, and most people will survive this disease.

But the thought still wakes you up at night, and you can’t stop thinking about it. 

What can you do if you received such news?

Is there anything that makes it better?

This article will briefly walk you through 10 recommendations to keep in mind if you’re living with prostate cancer.

10 tips for living with prostate cancer

When you have time and peace of mind to think through, these resources will help you develop a coping strategy to manage your cancer diagnosis successfully.

1) Remember that many things are still under your control

After receiving a cancer diagnosis, you may feel like everything in your life changes. As a cancer patient, you may not have the same mindset, goals, or thoughts as before, which is normal.

Moreover, you might feel that you’re not in control of your life anymore.

But once you have a moment to think about it, design a healing plan and decide what treatment options you would like. You can control that.

Many aspects of your previous life feel like they belong to someone else, but there is still a lot ahead.

You can still choose what you’re eating, what doctors you’re visiting, and what treatment options and therapies feel suitable for you. 

2) Ask questions every time

Most diagnoses raise difficult questions, especially prostate cancer. Thus, it is essential to express your feelings and ask anything that makes you feel concerned.

Do not feel cowed by your doctor. They are likely expecting many questions from you, and you can take notes if you prefer.

Make sure you understand your cancer treatment options. Ask about symptom triggers you want to avoid. Ask about side effects and lifestyle changes.

Write down any doubt if the doctor is not nearby, and be sure to understand your ailment.

3) Find comfort in prostate cancer survival rates

One of the aspects of prostate cancer doctors may want you to know is that it is usually slow-growing.

Many patients with prostate cancer die from different causes. The 5-year survival rate can be near 100% in some cases.

This one is not the worst compared to other types of cancer such as lung cancer, brain cancer, colorectal cancer, and ovarian cancer (1).

Survival rates vary depending on the type of cancer, the age of cancer diagnosis, the stage of the disease, your lifestyle, and many other aspects.

This is another question that you may want to ask your healthcare team or doctor.

4) Look for additional resources and support

Social support is essential to beat cancer, but sometimes your family and friends do not understand what you’re going through.

Webpages such as Cancer Care or Cancer Survivors Unite offer programs, online education, and many resources for cancer patients like you.

You can also find support groups online to talk about your experience with cancer and share opinions and feelings with like-minded people.

5) Find comfort in your health care team

It is fundamental to feel comfortable with your health care team. Your healthcare professionals are there to guide you through this disease.

You need to feel confident around them, free to ask them questions and ask for help when you need it. 

If you do not feel comfortable with your current health care team, there are many specialized clinical oncology centers and professionals you can try.

The National Cancer Institute recognizes 63 centers as excellent opportunities to get you started. Look at their lists and evaluate your options.

6) Evaluate your financial situation with a clear view

Prostate cancer often affects patients financially. They may need a prolonged rest time from work.

However, cancer is considered a disability, and your job is protected by law.

In some cases, you will be able to keep at work as long as you get extra breaks or a change in your assignments.

Insurance coverage is another common concern.

Sites such as Health Insurance Info and Patient Advocate are helpful to get this information.

7) Do something different

You may need to go through your habits and make a few changes for your own benefit.

For example, physical activity is known to reduce stress and boost your immune system (2).

The Mediterranean diet is known to help patients with prostate cancer recover faster (3).

It is also essential to manage your emotions wisely. It is not the same as suppressing negative emotions. You’re entitled to feel bad and express your feelings (4).

8) Keep on with your life and family goals

Patients with prostate cancer often have the feeling that everything is over now. But it is not, and your life continues after a cancer diagnosis.

If you have dreams, you can still make them through. You can keep your goals intact, including having children (5).

Talk to your doctor if you want to start a family with prostate cancer. It is essential to try to do so before initiating treatment like chemotherapy or radiotherapy, which typically affect your fertility.

9) Communicate often

Communication with your loved ones and caregivers while living with cancer is fundamental for your mental health.

They are near you at all times, and they are the ones who can give you support when necessary.

In most cases, relatives are open to talk about cancer and how it makes you feel (6).

10) Don’t be afraid of counseling

Patients often stigmatize psychological therapy and believe it is for weak individuals.

But all of us need counseling at some point, especially after a diagnosis such as cancer or living with cancer.

A counselor is not only someone who listens to you. They can also help organize your thoughts and decide for yourself what to do next. 

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Conclusion

Living with cancer and coping with this type of chronic illness can be very hard.

Palliative care, hair loss, and the initial fear after diagnosis are all difficult steps in your cancer journey.

Many patients feel anxiety and depression, but even those with advanced cancer can cope with their disease successfully. 

It is important to ask questions about cancer, complementary therapies, a clinical trial, and anything that you don’t have clear throughout this challenging time.

Remember that you can still choose many aspects of cancer care, including your healthcare team.

Communicate with your family, and don’t be afraid to ask for counseling as a part of your supportive care.

There are many resources and support groups you can also try.

Next Up

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Undergoing Prostate Cancer Treatment? Learn How To Manage Possible Side Effects.

Sources

  1. Quinn, M., & Babb, P. (2002). Patterns and trends in prostate cancer incidence, survival, prevalence, and mortality. Part I: international comparisons. BJU international, 90(2), 162-173. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12081758/
  2. Liu, Y., Hu, F., Li, D., Wang, F., Zhu, L., Chen, W., … & Zhao, Y. (2011). Does physical activity reduce the risk of prostate cancer? A systematic review and meta-analysis. European urology, 60(5), 1029-1044. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21802197/
  3. Kenfield, S. A., DuPre, N., Richman, E. L., Stampfer, M. J., Chan, J. M., & Giovannucci, E. L. (2014). Mediterranean diet and prostate cancer risk and mortality in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. European urology, 65(5), 887-894. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23962747/
  4. Bjorck, J. P., Hopp, D. P., & Jones, L. W. (1999). Prostate cancer and emotional functioning: Effects of mental adjustment, optimism, and appraisal. Journal of Psychosocial Oncology, 17(1), 71-85. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1300/J077v17n01_05
  5. Tran, S., Boissier, R., Perrin, J., Karsenty, G., & Lechevallier, E. (2015). Review of the different treatments and management for prostate cancer and fertility. Urology, 86(5), 936-941. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26368508/
  6. Zhou, E. S., Penedo, F. J., Lewis, J. E., Rasheed, M., Traeger, L., Lechner, S., … & Antoni, M. H. (2010). Perceived stress mediates the effects of social support on health-related quality of life among men treated for localized prostate cancer. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 69(6), 587-590. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2994072/
Alternative Text

Dr Alberto Parra

Dr. Alberto Parra is a Medical Doctor and clinical researcher with extensive experience in diagnostic imaging and sports medicine. He's also interested in nutrition, fitness and family medicine, with expertise and continuing education on preventive healthcare and evidence-based medicine. He provides consultancy services to a number of individuals and entities who require medical validation of their protocols, products, supplements, and medical contents.

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